Reflections of an Artist Exhibition

Exhibition extended until 1st November 2020 (Free Entry)
Open Thursday-Sunday 12-4pm

We are very pleased to say that Gunnersbury Park and Museum have now reopened their doors to the public.

Gunnersbury Park Museum's intimate spring exhibition puts the spotlight back on local artist Madeline Green.

Raised in Ealing, Green won acclaim as a versatile artist of 2D media. This exhibition will showcase the wide range and styles of pieces Green produced during her lifetime, including uncompromising self-portraits, anatomical studies of animals, and dreamy renderings of early 20th-century parties, mimes and theatrical costume.

Gunnersbury Park Museum, Popes Lane, London W5 4NH

Leaflet from the exhibition

Exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

A further display of just over 100 skirt lifters can be seen at the RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) in Exeter. The display is in the Collectors' Cabinet in the Finders Keepers Gallery.  The Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, to 5.00 p.m.  Closed Monday and Bank Holidays.  Free Admission.

The Display will continue at the RAMM until the 7th January. For full details of other exhibits, visit

The Skirt Lifter display has a wide variety of base metal and brass scissor type skirt lifters and a number of different skirt lifters with delightful chains, as well as 17th century items and skirt lifters from the Victorian and Edwardian period, including amongst others the Fyfe’s Penny Farthing, The Perfect Holder, The Eureka, Mourning, Children and Art Nouveau Spring Clip Skirt Lifters. Other items include the Surprise Lifter; an Indian and Arts and Crafts items and a boxed Grappler skirt lifter.

Record price paid for Skirt Lifter

A four and a half inch long Victorian base metal ladies' skirt lifter, c1870s,  with crossed tennis rackets and three tennis balls motif, sold at Graham Budd's Sports Memorabilia sale in early June. It reached an unprecedented price of £3,200, plus 17.5% buyers premium. The battle of bids was between a foreign bidder online and a foreign bidder on the telephone. Both parties desperate to win. Walker believes that this is the highest price paid for a skirt lifter. Quite possibly the tennis interest was more important than the interest in the skirt lifter. The tennis motif is not totally unique, others are known of and have sold at auction before, but not for such an enormous amount.

Page 10 of The Antiques Trade Gazette, 9th June 2018, has an article "Record Skirt lifter rises to the occasion" by Tom Derbyshire. There is also a longer version of the article online for subscribers to the Antiques Trade Gazette

Ladies’ Antique Skirt on display

Fairlynch Museum, 27 Fore Street, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 6NP
Open Daily from 30th March to 31st October, 2.00 p.m. to 4.30. p.m.

This is a small museum but contains many extremely interesting exhibits.  This year it celebrates 400 years of the death of a local hero: Sir Walter Raleigh and a room is devoted to the life of the great Elizabethan with the prize exhibit of Millais’ painting “The Boyhood of Raleigh” from the 28th May until the 31st August. Among the many exhibits are displays of Quilts and Textiles, and interesting information on WW1: Caring for Casualties in local VAD Hospitals.

In the Costume Room displaying 100 years of Devon Weddings is also a cabinet displaying a variety of Skirt Lifters from the 17th century through the Victorian and Edwardian period, including amongst others the Fyfe’s Penny Farthing, The Perfect Holder, The Eureka, Mourning, Children and Art Nouveau Spring Clip Skirt Lifters.     Very few skirt lifters are on public display and it is a credit to the museum to exhibit these interesting items of social history.

The Museum is well worth a visit.   Entry is free, but donations are always welcome.

Madeline Green

Madeline Green’s works are now becoming better known with several paintings sold at auction over the last few years. It is hoped that a further exhibition of Green’s works will be held next year.  Watch this space.

Were Florence Nightingale and Caroline Chisholm friends?

Various biographies of Caroline Chisholm suggest that Florence Nightingale was Caroline Chisholm’s “friend and pupil”. Frustratingly when writing my book I could never find anything to substantiate these comments. However, further research has found concrete evidence that Florence Nightingale did indeed know Chisholm and helped her before going off to the Crimea. Letters written by Nightingale in June 1852 to Fr Manning housed in an American University Library indicate that Nightingale “went into the country yesterday to organise something for Mrs Chisholm”. The letter also tells Fr Manning where Chisholm is living in Islington, London, and the times he might find her there. Nightingale also enclosed a letter of introduction for Manning to Caroline Chisholm. It would not be unreasonable to assume that Nightingale also visited Chisholm at her home in Islington. This new information makes it very clear that Nightingale did indeed know Chisholm and could be said to be her “friend and pupil”.

Stained Glass Window to Commemorate Caroline Chisholm

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton

The stained glass window to commemorate Caroline Chisholm was unveiled in a ceremony in early June 2015.  The window is in the round of the Church and looks quite stunning and is well worth a visit. The image does not do it justice, especially when the sun is streaming through.

You can read more about the Stained Glass Window here.

Caroline Chisholm and the grave refurbishment

The refurbishment of Caroline and Archibald’s gravestone was completed in 2014 and a rededication service was held on the 11th November. The grave is now looking great with a host of golden daffodils and white crocus that were kindly planted by a devoted admirer and gardener in remembrance of the white crocus that was named after Caroline. The photos of ‘before’ and ‘after’ show the remarkable difference.

Refurbishment Update

The stonemasons are completing the task of refurbishing the Caroline Chisholm gravestone and will be returning it to the Billing Road Cemetery on the 22nd October. A small service has been arranged with Canon Mark of the Catholic Cathedral in Northampton and with the Reverend Michael Hills of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Northampton where Caroline was baptised and married. The blessing service will be held on Tuesday, 11th November at 2.00 p.m. at the Billing Road Cemetery in Northampton.

We have almost reached our target for the cost of repairs, but any further donations, however small, would be most appreciated. Please contact us for details.

The refurbishment begins

On Wednesday, 20th August the stonemason's removed the Caroline Chisholm grave to their workshop. It is estimated that the refurbishment will take about twelve weeks.

Temorary Stone DSC00660

Meantime the fundraising continues. Donations from Australia have started the ball rolling and it is hoped that the people of Northampton, the town of Caroline's birth and early life, will help us reach the target of £1,250 to £2,000. The larger amount is given in case anything untoward is found now that the stonemasons are able to look further at the crack at the top of the cross. It is hoped that will be able to mend it securely, but if they are unable to do so, the cross may have to be replaced.

If you would like to contribute, please contact us.