Hanford School’s first arts festival

ARTISTS and art experts, including the award-winning portrait painter Michael Taylor, will be going back to school in Dorset, as Hanford School near Child Okeford hosts its first art festival, from 18th to 22nd June.

The dramatic coast and beautiful countryside of Dorset and the West Country have attracted generations of artists but you don’t need to be an artist to appreciate the beauty and creative potential of this corner of the country.

Hanford will be hosting a week of talks and workshops aimed at educating, informing and entertaining anyone with an interest in creativity. The visiting speakers come from all areas of the art world including curators, artists and experts.

Michael Taylor, who lives in north Dorset, will be a welcome returning guest. The last time he was in residence at Hanford it was to create a ‘priceless’ masterpiece, by a fictional northern renaissance artist called “Johannes Van Hoytl the Younger” for Wes Anderson’s  Ruritanian caper The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Before the main festival, the first talk, on Wednesday 6th June, will be What is the Royal Collection?, by Rufus Bird, Surveyor of the Queen’s Works of Art, who was recently on television talking about the Royal Collection. The talk is at 6.30pm in the Duke’s of Dorchester auction room.

The main programme of public talks, all taking place at 7.30pm in the school’s pretty Georgian gothic chapel, begins on Monday 18th June with Ann Witheridge, a former pupil and current parent and founder of Fine Art Studio London, who will explore the enduring appeal of portrait painting and still life in “A Live and Lively Portrait Painting Demonstration.”

On Tuesday 19th June, the internationally acclaimed sculptor Mark Coreth will give a sculpture demonstration and talk about the plight of the polar bear.

The speaker on Wednesday 20th will be Harry Primrose, Lord Dalmeny, the chairman of Sotheby’s UK and Ireland, talking about “What Makes Art Valuable.”

On Thursday 21st, Sara Radice, head of history of art at Godolphin School, Salisbury, will give a talk called “Painters, Petticoats and Politics of Five 18th Century Women.”

Michael Taylor will be at Hanford on Friday 22nd talking about “A Personal Journey through Paintings” including the story of  Boy with Apple, which was painted at Hanford and featured in Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel. That day, highlights of the artwork produced throughout the week will be on display in the chapel.

For the first time, as part of the inaugural art festival, Hanford School is joining Dorset Art Weeks, on Sunday, 10th June, with a public display of the girls’ work in the school chapel.

On Wednesday 20th June, the school’s head of art Lucy Tabberer is running a Give Art a Go workshop, open to girls, aged seven to nine. Places are available on a first come, first served basis – contact the office on 01258 860219.

For more information or to book for any of the talks, visit www.hanfordschool.co.uk

Pictured: Portrait painter Michael Taylor at work in Hansford School hall on the painting which featured in Wes Anderson’s film Grand Budapest Hotel.