There has been a lot of controversy about the siting of the Jerwood Gallery on The Stade at Hastings. As I’m not a resident, nor a fisherman in Hastings, I am not best placed to present the arguments before and against, so the following post is from the point of a visitor to the gallery and to Hastings on one day only. However, for my part, I have to say that I would not have visited Hastings this week and discovered what The Stade has to offer visitors, had it not been for the gallery being situated here. If you’d like to read more about the background to the arguments for and against the gallery there’s a WordPress blog by a Hastings resident here which has a series of comments afterwards which are equally compelling.
The gallery houses a fascinating collection of modern art, with some fascinating pieces by Winifred Nicholson, Keith Vaughan, and Paul Feiler, including Ben Nicholson’s Still Life: three mugs and a bowl, Anne Redpath’s Mainly Grey & White (featured in the BBC report), to name a couple of my favourites. The building itself is a lustrous black ceramic tiled affair that fits in well with the pitch painted fisherman’s ‘net shops‘, tall black wooden sheds used to store fishing gear (I shall write more on this, and include images in my next post). Large windows throughout reveal views of the surroundings – almost as if they were paintings themselves. Fortunately, visitors to the gallery are allowed to take photographs of the architecture of the building from the inside as long as none of the galleries paintings are featured in the shot. Many of the views are of the fishing fleet and the fisherman’s buildings that are between the gallery and the sea.
After visiting the gallery and enjoying tea on the terrace overlooking the fishing fleet, we walked around the area to discover what else there was to see and whether we would visit with the children (who were at school that day). The interesting architecture, fishing sheds, aquarium, funicular railway, miniature railway, fisherman’s museum, shops and fresh fish stalls all in the small area of The Stade make this an attractive day out, or more than a day, with the kids. We’ll be visiting the gallery and the other attractions on The Stade some time again this year and will be eating some of the fish and chips from the local cafés.
Other coastal/riverside galleries I like:
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
Towner Gallery, Eastbourne
Tate Modern, London
Haven’t visited the Turner Contemporary in Margate yet – it’s on my list!