Maggi Hambling Steals The Show!

Last Friday I went to 'an illustrated discussion' involving some dear old chaps and the indomitable Maggi Hambling - all artists who had spent time studying with Arthur Lett-Haines (known as Lett, not Arthur) and Cedric Morris at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing.
The discussion was led/chaired by the writer and art historian Ian Collins with Frank Pond, Peter Baldwin and Robert Short making up the panel alongside Maggi Hambling. Hambling is best known for Scallop - the shell on the beach at Aldeborough. Here's one of her robust wave paintings:

I hadn't really ever seen any of Lett Haines' work before but the slides they showed were really interesting. The work shows a vitality in Haines' willingness to explore, trying new things - not restricted by needing to be liked or being successful. He must have had a really creative mind. The imagery and the mixing of media makes them feel very contemporary.


I was enticed to attend the panel discussion in the first place through the work of Cedric Morris. I went to the retrospective at the Tate (when it was just the Tate!) in 1984 - but you know, Lett Haines' work is free from the chalky stodginess that some of Morris' paintings can be heavy with. 
One of the panel noted "Cedric was the painter, Lett was the artist"
Another of the speakers at the discussion said that, at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing, there was "little formal instruction but much education going on". The experience of studying there was also described as "revealing yourself within a sense of place".
Maggi Hambling was a witty speaker - provocative - with erudite, well observed comments, a cheeky sense of fun and a rather beautiful hip flask she swigged from regularly!

There's an exhibition at the Castle Museum in Norwich on at the moment called Cedric Morris and Christopher Wood - A Forgotten Friendship, which runs alongside the Norwich Castle Open Art Show, until 31st and 9th December respectively. Can't wait to see it.

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