Article in Art Space, local Leamington Spa magazine

For the summer 2016 issue of ‘Art Space’, a local magazine in Leamington Spa, I wrote a short history about the art gallery and museum and its collection of paintings. It covers key bequests, individual artworks (including the oldest painting in the collection), collecting strategies, and current exhibitions.

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What to do with The Parents

Published in The Boar 16th July 2013

Helen Cobby shares her tips on how to entertain your family on a quick Warwick university visit.

When ‘The Parents’ say they are coming to visit does that send you into a panic? How to keep them occupied all day? What to do with them? How to get them out of your hair? Well here is my guide on how to survive and ensure you all have a good and harmonious time in Leamington, whether you are going to be entertaining the family as a Fresher in October or during Graduation this summer.

There are many unique and unusual independent cafes in Leamington with the right ambience and high quality boosts of caffeine or sugar to put everyone in a good mood. If the weather behaves, Bar Angeli is my number one recommendation with its outdoor seating in the cobbled courtyard of Regent Court. Their hot chocolate is the best in town, and their pastries and muffins would be perfect for a morning snack or a late, indulgent breakfast. Bar Angeli is Italian run, making for a vibrant yet chilled atmosphere, complete with unique rustic décor. Keeping with the Italian theme, Café Corleone also does amazing hot chocolate and superb coffee, and is of the same high standard as Bar Angeli, being owned by the same people. Alternatively, Gusto Ricco can make for a fun experience. It has several higgledy-piggledy floors with odd furniture. Watch out for their delicious carrot cake. Lastly, Blueberry Hill Patisserie on Chandos Street is a cutesy option with a fresh feel to it due to the simple, open décor. I’ve yet to try any of their cakes, but they all look invitingly homemade.  Continue reading

Ready… Steady… Cook!

Published in The University of Warwick Student newspaper, The Boar, in November 2012

Great excitement! The homemade food shop COOK has arrived at Leamington Spa. Located on Warwick Street in the heart of the town, this authentic and bordering-on-gourmet food outlet is not to be missed.

As well as providing authentic, genuine home-cooked ready meals, this trendy parlour comes equipped with extremely friendly staff who are always ready to offer you tasters and nibbles whilst you browse.  Continue reading

A Precious Diamond in the Spa

Published in The University of Warwick student newspaper, The Boar, in October 2012

More students from The University of Warwick need to discover the hidden treasures of the Leamington Spa Pump Rooms. When I talk to my friends and other students at Warwick, I am struck at how few people realise there is a fabulous art gallery, and even a library, in the heart of Leamington.

I first stumbled upon the place with my mum when we stopped off at the Pump Room’s café for a reviving slice of cake after a morning spent unpacking my mountain of stuff (mostly clothes and chocolate), all labeled ‘essential’ at the time, for the start of my second year at university.

The Royal Pump Rooms consist of a public library, tearooms, a museum detailing the local history of Leamington, and a permanent art gallery with a temporary art exhibition room.

There are about 2000 items in the permanent art collection, which are displayed in rotation. The large oil painting The Penitence of St Peter, Seventeenth Century by Phillippe de Champaigne (1602 – 1674), a leading 17th century religious and portrait painter, is considered one of the masterpieces of the collection. It demonstrates a technically brilliant use of light and shadow to define the folds of Peter’s clothes, and to capture his ponderous facial expression and careworn appearance as he concentrates upon reading his book in a devotional position.  Continue reading