Despite the recently announced easing of lockdown guidance, we are going to take a very cautious approach at the Gallery and will not be opening to the public for the time being. I am still hoping that we might be able to hold one or two events in the autumn, but for the present I think the sensible course is to avoid unnecessary gatherings wherever possible.
Behind the closed doors work has been continuing with the repositioning of all the photographs. Some areas will be looking quite different when you next see them, for better or for worse will be for you to judge. I have tried to bring all the various items from any one period into the same zone, so that whether it is GP racing, Sportscars or Motorcycles, they should appear together in the relevant decade, instead of being spread across different areas of the gallery as in the past. I have also tried to incorporate some of the art pieces into this new configuration, which has proved tricky but, I think, is working well. I have always found combining photographs and artworks difficult, but having taken the plunge I am pleased with the results. I know that many of our visitors enjoyed the Artistic Impressions exhibition we put on last year, so it seemed an opportunity to integrate some of these pieces into the main body of the gallery.
Age creeps up on me, well sprints up in truth, so I have decided that we will probably not hold any further specific annual exhibitions, it just means a load of extra work each year, so after this latest reshuffle I am hoping to more or less maintain what we have and be able to enjoy it. The plan was to hold a Portraits exhibition this year, but along with everything else the public health situation has forced something of a rethink. I am hoping that for the future the new layout will allow the gallery to develop in a slightly different direction. As i find Portraits an interesting topic, the plan now is to dedicate a permanent room to this, the old Nuvolari room has been moved to the front to accomodate this. This does also mean that the photographic story now starts at the beginning of the gallery which makes some sense.
Whilst we will not be opening to the public for a little while yet, if any of our good friends do want an excuse to get out for a couple of hours, provided you are prepared to do a little work I can open the door to a couple of people at a time. This is a somewhat roundabout way of asking for help! The bulk of the collection has now bern repositioned and rehung, but all will need fixing. The estimable Ian Jones kindly undertakes this task each spring, but we have never had to clean and fix every piece as we will this time and even Ian cannot do all of this alone. There is plenty of space to ensure social distancing, and if two or three of us took a zone each for a couple of hours, once a week, I reckon that we would soon have it all done. If you are well behaved I might even offer a light and healthy lunch.
Seriously, I know many of you have offered help over the years, so if you do want a change of scene let me know. I am planning a “ cleaning and fixing” sessions from 10.30-12.30 next Thursday, the 16th, if one or two want to help let me know. Bless Ian who is making a start tomorrow morning.
My sincere apologies to anyone who has tried to contact me via email or Facebook over the past few weeks. I think I have manged to reply to almost everyone, but there were a few technical issues with my email early on during lockdown, so I have only just picked up one or two of these and I will reply over the next few days. Facebook is a different matter, it is just not a medium I am comfortable with, but I can see its uses, so once I can find out how to use it in a way which makes sense for the gallery I shall do so. In the meantime this website or my own email work best.
I enclose a couple of photos from the gallery this week. By the time you all get to see it everything is neat and tidy, quite the opposite of how it has been for some weeks now. I confess to having underestimated just how big a job it is to move every piece around, but it is coming together again now. Over the years I have found that the most efficient procedure is to lay all the pieces out on the floor in the order I want to show them. That is the hard and time consuming part. Once that is done it is a relatively quick job to hang them all. The cleaning and fixing is where the help comes in!
As always, take good care of yourselves. The most important thing is that we can all meet up again once we think it appropriate to do so and I truly look forward to that.