The work to move all the photographs and art pieces in the gallery to their new positions is now virtually complete. Indeed it would be complete were it not for the great flood of Fenton a week ago. Most of the gallery was unaffected, but one section in the new Nuvolari era room was damaged. Typically the water came down the wall where half a dozen signed Klemantaski photos had been hung. Luckily as far as I can tell the photos themselves are unmarked, the mounts and frames have taken the hit and my good friend Martin at Jarrotts is already scheduling possible remedial work for next winter. Hopefully as everything dries out things will not be quite as bad as first feared. It is a little frustrating though to have this happen just as we had pretty well finished all the work. In all about thirty freshly placed pieces have had to be taken off. My initial comment was that this was mildly irksome, or something along those lines!
Here are the Klemantaski pieces before the flood:
The integration of the various gallery sections is now done. You know how once a new road appears you soon struggle to remember what it was like previously? The gallery is much the same and already I have to think hard to remember where everything was just a few months ago. Modern Grand Prix stars from Schumacher to Hamilton used to be in this space here, now occupied by the 1978-82 GP period.
A few steps in the opposite direction shows clearly how the new layout brings the various forms of racing together; here you can see Lauda and Hunt, Roberts and Sheene and Le Mans from the mid ‘70s period all alongside each other.
Post 1982 is now all upstairs on the mezzanine, amazingly it all fitted on, just! I am not sure at the moment quite how we take the story forwards beyond this year, but from the current era I more or less now limit myself to only adding new GP winners. In this respect at least the last few seasons have been a bonus, the domination of Mercedes with the occasional intervention from Red Bull and Ferrari have meant that since 2016 there have only been three new winners, I think, ( Verstappen, Bottas and Leclerc)*. An extraordinary phenomenon given how many races there are in each year. Good news for those of us with a collection which includes, somewhere, a photo of every winner of a round of the World Championship since its start in 1950. Needless to say, whatever money has been saved in this regard has found its way into other areas of interest.
Whenever we do eventually reopen, vistors will see a tribute section to Sir Stirling Moss in the meeting area at the front of the gallery. There are several new pieces included here. I have never counted, but I am sure that there were already more pieces of Moss than anyone else in the collection, ( I am guessing, but Clark, Surtees and Fangio are probably next up), in part reflecting Sir Stirling’s place in the sport’s history. But hanging so many pieces over the past two months, I have again been struck by just how beautiful so many of the shots from the mid to late 1950s are. I think it is a combination of the cars, venues, the visibilty of the drivers in open helmets and cockpits which give off such a distinct atmosphere. There is an intimacy to the whole thing which became very difficult to capture in the same way once full face helmets came into use and this has been compounded by the increasing protection around drivers. These days we just about see the top half of their helmets. Walking around the gallery and knowing the stories, it is very difficult to argue against the vast improvements in safety, and there are certainly plenty of spectacular shots from more recent eras, but for a sense of intimacy with the driver personally I think a good shot from the 1950s is hard to beat. Here is a new Jarrotts piece by Edward Eves of Moss just after his famous win at the Goodwood TT in 1959.
I am really looking forward to being able to share all this with our many friends, before too long. It has been quite a lot of work to get it all back together and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our dear friend Ian Jones, aka Henri Pescarolo, for his unstinting help in cleaning and fixing all the pieces.
Here he is with Henri himself, the likeness between the two not being apparent to my eyes!
I will post a few more photos and comments in due course, in the meantime stay safe.
*Written pre Monza.......well done Pierre Gasly!