Showing posts from April, 2013

Just add water? Not so simple!

Above:  'High Seas' by Budleigh Salterton artist Susanna Lance Fairlynch’s exhibition of paintings inspired by the sea and coastal scenery have been much admired by visitors to the museum.The display by Budleigh Salterton’s Venture Art Group members was deliberately based on a common theme to complement the Museum’s 2013 show entitled ‘Sea, Salt and Sponges.’
Inevitably the subject was found to have some difficult aspects. Whether painting a river, a lake, a stream or the sea most artists find that water presents one of the most challenging aspects of a landscape for them to master.

'Spume and Sails' Budleigh artist and gallery owner Susanna Lance would wholeheartedly agree. Seascapes have been her speciality for the last 20 years and she continues to find both frustration and enjoyment in depicting subjects such as waves and ripples or the simple reflections of boats in still waters as in the study shown below.
Since moving to East Devon in 1988 she has specialised in…

Queen Victoria would not be amused!

How ironic that local primary school children may not be able to study Victorian and Edwardian history. For that’s in a town where the local museum is putting on three exhibitions this year relating to those important periods in Britain’s development. And where the town itself is full of landmarks dating from those times, including FairlynchMuseum itself.

This latest development in our schools, according to the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), would be as a result of yet another education initiative.The Association is strongly opposed to the government's proposals to remove Victorian and early 20th century history from Key Stage 2 History, believing that it will have a damaging effect on children’s learning and appreciation of history.
Under the proposed curriculum changes 18th, 19th, and 20th century history would no longer be covered in primary schools; instead this would form part of Key Stage 3 taught at secondary school level.
AIM feels that the changes will preven…

A case of interest for old things

My previous post at the RoyalDevon & ExeterHospital’s robot and the benefits that its arrival might bring for prostate cancer sufferers attracted as much attention from readers as anything that I’d written about FairlynchMuseum.

I suppose that there is a connection. In both situations old things feature prominently - in museums as well as in cases of prostate cancer.
So here we go with a follow-up which is very much to do with the latter.
Local residents concerned about prostate cancer will value the chance of hearing first-hand about latest news on the disease from the RDandE’s urology consultant John McGrath at a meeting on Thursday 9 May. The event has been organised by the Exmouth & BudleighSalterton branch of North & East Devon Prostate Support Association and will take place at 10.00 am at the Manor Hotel on The Beacon, Exmouth.
To test or not to test? To talk about it or k…

Amelia's Adventures in the Museum: 1. The Costume Room

 Find out what happened when Amelia explored the contents of the dressing-up basket in Fairlynch Museum's Costume Room and took a ride on Phoenix at

A view of Edwardian Budleigh Salterton

This early 20th century photo of Budleigh beach came to my attention courtesy of the useful Google news alert service.

It was first published in 1905 by the Detroit Publishing Company in a series of 'Views of the British Isles'

Art meets Science at Fairlynch

The sponge Clathrina Coriacea (Montagu, 1818) was greatly admired by Henry Carter
Image credit Fiona Crouch, Marine Biological Association of the UK

There’s an awful lot of science in Fairlynch’s 2013 exhibition ‘Sea, Salt and Sponges.’ There’s fearsome-looking medical equipment, a fine display of microscopes and much information about the geology of places ranging from India to Canada, not forgetting Devon of course. Not to mention the surprisingly intricate anatomy of sponges with all those complex chemicals that they produce which are providing useful weapons in the war against cancer and other diseases.
But Budleigh scientist and FRS Henry Carter (1813-95) whose bicentenary the Museum is celebrating was an artist in his way. He often shows himself in his writings charmed by the beauty of the marine species that he examined. Of the sponge Clathrina Coriacea (Montagu, 1818), pictured above, which he found on Budleigh beach he wrote “It veils the dark rock beneath with the most chaste …

Mayor cuts Cakus carteri to honour Devon scientist

Budleigh-born Fellow of the Royal Society Henry Carter had many species named after him, including a gecko, the frankincense tree and a rather unpleasant fungus. But it’s especially for his research into marine sponges that this army surgeon was internationally known in Victorian times earning the admiration of no less a person than Charles Darwin. 

So celebrating his achievements with a specially baked cake in the shape of a sponge seemed only natural. Budleigh Salterton’s Mayor Courtney Richards is shown with Cakus carteri, Fairlynch 2013 at the opening of a bicentenary exhibition at the town’s museum. Pictured left is Priscilla Hull, co-founder and President of Fairlynch Museum.

Museum assistant Sylvia Merkel admires Cakus carteri, a novel Victoria sponge

And the cake?Naturally a Victoria sponge, provided by Fancyflours of Exmouth and enjoyed by more than 30 Friends of Fairlynch and local residents who attended the event.

‘Sea, Salt and Sponges’, the Museum’s 2013 exhibition to ho…

That Alan Cotton painting could be yours

Many visitors to FairlynchMuseum have admired this painting by local artist Alan Cotton. It hangs alone in the Environment Room, away from the Museum’s other pictures. That’s probably because it’s inspired by the ancient landscape of Woodbury Common with those mysterious Bronze Age burial sites that fascinated Budleigh archaeologist George Carter (1886-1974).
“I love this picture”, says Fairlynch Art expert Angie Harlock-Wilkinson. “Alan Cotton pulls our gaze irresistibly into this beautiful, timeless evocation of the OtterValley by leading it along the sinuous 'S'-shaped curves of the silhouetted trees into the blue distant hills on the horizon.  The hunched, ancient oaks look as 'at home' in this familiar landscape as the wildebeest might do on the African plains.”
Living in Devon since the late 1960s has been an inspiration for Alan Cotton’s art but he has portrayed landscapes worldwide.In early 2005 he was invited by the Prince of Wales to be his tour artist and a…

RAMM’s Holly lends a helping hand at Fairlynch

Exeter’s RoyalAlbertMemorialMuseum and ArtGallery
Image credit: Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery and Exeter City Council
It seems appropriate in 2013 to remember the links between Exeter’s  and the much smaller FairlynchMuseum.
It was exactly two hundred years ago that the first steps towards a museum for the city were taken when the Devon and Exeter Institution opened in 1813, with the aims of “promoting the general diffusion of Science, Literature and Art” and of “illustrating the Natural and Civic History of the County of Devon and the City of Exeter.”And it was in that year that Henry Carter, one of the county’s great scientists, pictured below, was born in Budleigh Salterton.

So RAMM’s contribution to Fairlynch Museum's bicentenary exhibition in Carter’s honour was only to be expected. After all, the world-renowned sponge expert from Budleigh is known to have presented at least 38 zoological and botanical specimens t…

The Scientist in The Cottage

Museum visitors are often keen to take away a souvenir of an exhibition. This 40-page booklet is an informative guide to the life and achievements of Budleigh scientist Henry John Carter FRS, the main subject of FairlynchMuseum’s 2013 exhibition ‘Sea, Salt and Sponges.’ Based largely on material from 19th century journals it offers some interesting insights into the Victorian era in which he lived. 

There are sections on Carter’s medical career, on his time in southern Arabia, his work in geology and especially his research into sponges for which he is justly celebrated. Much admired by Darwin for his research Carter returned to his home town of Budleigh Salterton after twenty years as a doctor in India. He settled in the family home of The Cottage on Fore Street Hill, better known today as Umbrella Cottage.

With a useful timeline to Carter’s life and fascinating images, many in colour and never previously published, the booklet written by Fairlynch Museum’s Michael Downes is an att…