Time To Say Goodbye

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’.

The free exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturdays and closes on the 13th December.New YorkSanctuary

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