Creation is Inspiration… Collecting and Celebrating Wiltshire’s Creativity

on Wednesday, 02 September 2015. Posted in Archives

The five year Creative Wiltshire & Swindon Heritage Lottery Funded project has now been running for just over 6 months, and we’ve been thoroughly enjoying researching (with the help of volunteers) creative people who have been, and who still are, working in and being inspired by the county of Wiltshire.

We have now identified over 400 individuals, many of whom can be included in the project, and are busy actively acquiring items on behalf of the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Swindon Museum & Art Gallery, and some of Wiltshire’s museums (a full list can be found under About on our Creative Wiltshire site).

Some highlights so far have been…

A set of 1930s ceramics by Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie. Katharine, of Coleshill House near Swindon and Kilmington, Warminster, was one of the founder members of the Craftsman Potters Association. She was also instrumental in setting up the Crafts Study Centre at Holbourne Museum, Bath. Her glazes are very well documented and have been a source of inspiration and study for many potters ever since.


An etching by Robin Tanner of Kington Langley, 1930. Robin was not only a unique etcher; he was also influential in bringing art and creativity to the school curriculum and environment with his pioneering work at Ivy Lane School, Chippenham, in the 1930s and later as HM Inspector of schools.


A limited edition book of the work of artist Leslie Cole. Swindon born Leslie studied lithography and murals at a local college before attending the Royal College of Art. He became a war artist during WWII, documenting scenes of Allied prisoners in Changi Gaol, Singapore, and the POW Camp at Belsen.

A book of the surrealist paintings of Desmond Morris from Purton, best known as a zoologist. Desmond is also a highly competent artist and it has only been in the last few years he has released enough of his life-time’s work for people to discover not only how superb his strange breed of biomorphic surrealism is, but also his huge contribution to and importance in, the history of British painting.

The Supertramp LP Breakfast in America. The co-founder of the 1970s band is Rick Davies from Swindon. The image on the album cover features Rick pouring sugar onto his copy of the Swindon Advertiser!

A set of 18th century handmade bells from the foundry at Aldbourne with the help of Terry Gilligan (who has been researching the foundry) regarding the authenticity of the items which were on sale in the USA. The bells would originally have been mounted on a leather block to be used on the neck of a cart horse or load pulling ox. Bells produced at Aldbourne have a distinct style of their own for which they have become renowned. The foundry itself can be seen as a ‘technical leader’ in the art of the bell founding method.

We also have copies of some notes and reminiscences of Gerry Hughes, scriptwriter and performer of the BBC Wiltshire radio soap Acrebury which ran during the 1990s and was based on Wiltshire country life. Included is material which was used in his radio show Down Wiltshire Way.

What are we learning from Creative Wiltshire & Swindon?

Just how many creative people can be found in our county; the diversity of their skills and artistic expression, and their passion for their work. We’ve also begun to realise that creative work is not just a solitary endeavour. Creative people often play a full part in their local communities and this can be seen both in their work and the help or skills they offer to others. It is fitting that their work be recognised as part of Wiltshire’s heritage, celebrated and collected for the benefit of all.

Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with the project’s progress and new acquisitions on our Wordpress site Creative Wiltshire and our Pinterest site. We’ve just begun to add images to History Pin, so watch this space!

If you have information about creative people working in Wiltshire recently or at any time in the past, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at

Julie Davis

Project Officer


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