This piece is published on The Ken Stradling Collection blog.
There are many playful, colourful and humorous items on display in The Beales Bequest exhibition. This includes the pieces by Sam Smith. There is one of his fishing boats from the 1970s, made of wood and enamel-painted. Accompanying this is Smith’s book, The Secret Harbour, from 1975.
Sam Smith spent his childhood at the seaside town of Southampton. A painting of his was accepted into an exhibition at the Royal Academy when he was just 17 years old, but he became best known for his hand-carved painted wooden toys and sculpture. He was always drawn to performance and the theatrical in everyday life, which helped him to create an array of colourful characters that kept being repeated in his work.
His wooden fishing boats are both sculptures and toys for adults. Their designs started simply and became more complex and individual, with unusual characters that seem to offer stories and social insights.
Nautical themes and story telling are repeated throughout The Beales Bequest exhibition. Colin and Jennifer Beales also bequest their 2D wooden boat, with painting and mixed media, made by Victor Stuart Graham. Graham had a varied training in art. He originally trained as a graphic designer followed by a postgraduate degree in textile design. His boats made of worn driftwood have been hugely popular and have been exhibited throughout the UK.
Additionally, the print entitled The Tower of London from the School Prints series, by Edwin La Dell 1947, is part of The Beales Bequest to The Ken Stradling Collection. La Dell was appointed as an official war artist during the Second World War.
The Beales Bequest will be open to view every Wednesday 10 – 4pm and by appointment until 11th March.