Thursday, 20 June 2013

April 2013 Newsletter



Society Meetings

Sunday 5 May, 2.00pm. Heather McLean - Her topic is ‘Highlights and achievements from 40 years of genealogy’ Held in the hall at rear of Brain Watkins House

Sunday 9 June 2.00pm at the Tauranga Art Gallery, Willow Street. The curator, Penny Jackson will give us a talk and guide through the Mauao exhibition.

Sunday 7 July 2.00 p.m.  Dr Peter Vickers BDS BDefStud will speak on ‘Cameron, Grey and the Invasion of the Waikato’. To be held in the hall at rear of Brain Watkins House

Stephanie Smith our new President opens Jazz in the Garden on 3rd March

Jazz in the Garden

On Sunday 3 March the Society held its annual Jazz in the Garden event, opened by new president Stephanie Smith.  This is the first year we have held the event in March instead of February. The weather was sunny, though fortunately not quite as hot as last year, and visitors enjoyed the music provided by two talented young keyboard players from Tauranga Boys’ College.  $1450 was raised for the Society after paying the musicians, with the popular second hand bookstall making the most money. So the message is - start putting books away for next year's stall.  The crowd was slightly down on last year's event but all the stalls showed a good return.  One of our members has offered to find sponsorship for the event so next year we should be able to provide excellent entertainment as well as have increased advertising.  Thank you to all the members who contributed to the afternoon tea and donated cakes, plants and books for the stalls.  The Save the Children folk again agreed that it is a worthwhile event for them to attend which means we are supporting another charity as well.

Brain Watkins House Collection

Besides all the furniture, paintings and objects a visitor sees when walking through the house there are many more that are stored in drawers, wardrobes and boxes (some under the bed). With five daughters born before 1900 it is not surprising that there are many examples of handwork, whether crochet, embroidery, tatting or hand sewing.  To be an accomplished needlewoman was an expectation from all young women of their era.  They were also taught to draw and paint and in the house are many examples of Esther Brain’s oil paintings and Bessie’s charcoal drawings. The plaster statue of Britannia on a shelf in the front hall is an artist’s model although we so nor have any works where she is portrayed. However, clues to their inspiration lie in the postcard albums where the originals of the two horse paintings from the rear hall are found and the large oil over the fireplace in the lounge is very similar to postcards of cattle in a lake in Kilkenny. Other inspiration came from popular Victorian English artists such as Arthur Elsley whose framed drawing of a girl and her dogs is very similar to a Bessie Brain composition in the same room - probably a copy of another of his works. The third accomplishment of every young woman was music and although there has not been a piano in the house since the Society inherited it, the evidence remains with a selection of sheet music of popular songs of their day.

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