Twenty years of Open Studios celebrated by gallery of Mark Somerville portraits of MOS founders
Anyone venturing in to the Wellington Arms in the High Street earlier this evening (Monday 15 June) was instantly taken on a journey back across the past twenty years, as far back as 1995 when the inaugural Open Studios programme set root in Marlborough’s cultural calendar.
Portraits of many of those early pioneers were hanging on the wall whilst they themselves were assembled in the bar to celebrate the twentieth year of Marlborough Open Studios (originally just ‘Open Studios), a collection created by photographer Mark Somerville, who set out to capture on film the image and character of as many of those founding artists as possible.
Mark’s gallery of portraits isn’t just restricted to those artists who opened their homes and studios to the public back in 1995, but also includes a portrait of someone who was instrumental in making it happen - Nick Fogg.
Aldbourne Artist Gillian Reeve, inspired by her visits to the Newbury Open Studios approached Nick with the idea of an Open Studios programme for Marlborough. And through a combination of Nick’s political skills, Gillian’s inspiration and the pioneering artists’ willingness to allow their private spaces to become public, Open Studios became a reality.
Four of those founding artists are still exhibiting in the programme - Susan Kirkman, Arran Miles, Gillian Reeve and Jeannette Therrien - whilst Susan and Arran have exhibited in every one of the twenty Open Studios programmes.
This year’s programme embraces sixty two artists exhibiting out of forty three different studios across a wide area from Lambourn in the East to Rowde in the West, but with Marlborough at its geographic and spiritual heart.
Open Studio runs across every weekend of July, between 11am and 5pm. Details can be found on the website, and supporters are encouraged to become Friends of Open Studios, for annual subscription of £10.
Set out below are some of Mark Somerville’s portraits, click on any pic to enlarge: