This Week’s Culture Fix

David E Scherman, Lee Miller and Roland Penrose Downshire Hill, Hampstead, London, England 1943 © Lee Miller Archives, England 2020. All rights reserved.

Lovelee was how Lee Miller signed off her letters, playfully mixing ‘lovely’ and ‘love, Lee’ much to the delight of her husband and their cohort of surrealist friends. The pair wrote to one another voraciously in the 1930’s when she was in Cairo and there are more than 300 pages of letters documenting their burgeoning romance. Now you can hear some of these letters read aloud in a new podcast from Farley House and Gallery in Sussex.

Roland Penrose Letter Collage to Lee Miller, Collage and Handwritten 1939 © Roland Penrose, Lee Miller Archives, England 2020. All rights reserved.

Antony Penrose, Lee Miller’s son along with his daughter Ami Bouhassane will be delving into the archives for a new monthly blog, video series and podcast. You have to sign up to LoveLee membership (from just £3 per month, or £7 including the podcast) to access it, with each tier offering increasing insight as well as supporting Lee Miller’s legacy and Farleys. It’s also a good way to get in the mood for the opening of their exhibition, Lee Miller: Fashion in Wartime Britain that opens this May and will feature over 60 of her photographs for British Vogue from 1939 – 1944, many of which have never been seen before. Open Sundays and Thursdays, 20 May – 8 August 2021, pre-booking essential.

Copyright Lee Miller Archives, LoveLee, 2020

Letters are also the jumping off point for a new year-long exhibition at the Van Gogh House in Stockwell. Van Gogh moved to Hackford Road in 1873 when he was 20 and began working for an art dealer in Covent Garden. In one of his early letters home he quoted from John Keats’ poem, The Eve of St Mark:

‘And on the western window panes, 
The chilly sunset faintly told
Of unmatur’d green valleys cold, 
Of the green thorny bloomless hedge,
Of rivers new with spring-tide sedge
Of primroses by shelter’d rills,
And daisies on the anguish hills.’

Taken from a line in the poem, On the Western Window Pane will see a new poster go up each month for a year in the west-facing window of Van Gogh House starting on 1st April. These have been designed by 12 artists in response to the building’s history, and will be available as limited edition posters priced at £50 each. The first, by Brighid Lowe can be spotted in the window now and is available to buy here.

Finally, Charleston’s Festival Edit is going online again from 9-11 April with three events to tune in to at home. The Waves at Berwick Church will be a special collaboration between Charleston, the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and St Michael and All Angels Church, Berwick in celebration of 90 years’ since the publication of Virginia Woolf’s, The Waves. Hear extracts read aloud by actors Harriet Walker and Vera Chok, along with the music known to have inspired her writing. 9 April, 7pm tickets £15.

— Daisy Allsup
30th March 2021

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