The Five lives, Five Stories exhibition at the Burlington museum feature five Weston personalities and their place in history. It tells the stories of Robert Cruse, Edith Graves-Knyfton, Alfred Leete, Harry Mogg and Beatrice Page. Their lives are followed before, during and after the First World War, in which each played a very different role. The exhibition has only a few weeks to run so I decided to visit it before it returns to Taunton archives and may not be back on show for some considerable time.
Due to time constraints I chose to concentrate on the internationally famous artist Alfred Leete, and in particular his paintings and sketches; selecting a favourite. With so many to choose from this was a difficult task but one painting stood out for me and that was the atmospheric ‘Sanctuary’. I had encountered a similar picture before which told the moving story of immigrants from around the world travelling to New York and seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time; they knew then they had entered the ‘New World’. For Alfred Leete’s ‘Sanctuary’, it was Belgian refugees fleeing the conflict in Flanders and stepping down on a welcoming English shore; the attention to detail in the two pictures was sublime. I felt it was a privilege to see the original painting as drawn by the hand of the artist who produced the iconic ‘Britons, Your Country Needs You’.