New book celebrates the South Downs' great blend of art and culture

A new book highlights the unique blend of art and culture that stems from the South Downs.

South Downs Showcase
South Downs Showcase

A new book highlights the unique blend of art and culture that stems from the South Downs.

Celebrating its rich significance for artists, sculptors, composers and writers, the launch of South Downs Showcase celebrates more than 200 years of the area’s creative history.

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Lord Egremont, in an especially written foreword to the publication, said: “Books such as this not only remind us of past achievement but prompt confidence that there must be more to come.”

Aimed at residents and visitors alike, the new book comes from Peter Beckingham.

It showcases both past and present artists and includes chapters describing J M W Turner’s stays at Petworth House; the range of carvings and statues commissioned by his friend the Third Earl of Egremont; the tragedies and achievements of Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator E H Shepard who lived for many years in Lodsworth; and the rise to international prominence of Lavington Common-based artist Ivon Hitchens and subsequently his son John.

The book also features world-renowned Midhurst-based sculptor Philip Jackson, who has more public sculptures in London (including of Bobby Moore, Gandhi and a Bomber Command Memorial) than anyone else of his generation, and a number of highly talented contemporary, full-time artists who live in the area. The book contains more than 60 high-quality reproductions and has been designed by Jonathan Newdick.

Completing the book are shorter descriptions of some of the most well-known composers and writers who lived in the area, including Sir Edward Elgar and H G Wells, and details of some of the many art galleries and societies.

The book has been published as a not-for-profit venture by the Lodsworth Heritage Society.

Co-chairman Peter Beckingham, a former senior diplomat, said: “The South Downs area holds incredible artistic importance and our aim with this book is to offer both local residents and visitors a reminder of the beauty and talent of the area we are fortunate enough to enjoy.

“We hope that it will make a great Christmas present or a gift throughout the year!”

Copies of South Downs Showcase are available from bookshops in Petworth, Midhurst, Chichester and Arundel at £14.95 or can be ordered by email from the Lodsworth Heritage Society at [email protected] for £17, including postage and packing, with payment by bank transfer to Lodsworth Heritage Society (Sort Code: 30-96-61 A/c no. 17441468) or by cheque to the Society.