New Exhibition: The Charge of the Dorset Yeomanry at Agagia, 26th February 1916

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, 26th February 1916, Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1917

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, 26th February 1916, Lady Butler, 1917                   [Dorset County Council]

Dorset County Museum and The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, in conjunction with the Dorset Yeomanry have assembled a small exhibition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous charge of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry against a mixed Turkish and Senussi force in the Egyptian Western Desert.

The charge, the last Regimental charge in battle by the British army, routed the enemy and was a key element in preventing the Turks and their German allies from capturing the Suez canal; a vital link with India.

The highlight of the display will be the painting on loan by the Dorset County Council recording the gallantry of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry that was commissioned from the greatest, British, late 19th / early 20th century, military artist, Lady Butler. The painting was paid for by subscriptions from local people. After being exhibited in 1917 at the Royal Academy, it was displayed in most of the major towns across Dorset. Over 10,000 people paid 8d each to see the painting. It normally hangs in the Members’ Common Room at County Hall and this will be the first time for many decades that the people of Dorset will have easy access to view this painting with such county wide resonance.

A complementary display of military ephemera will be staged at The Keep Military Museum at the same time. Dorset County Museum and The Keep Military Museum are offering a joint ticket to see both displays with an individual ticket price saving of £1.50

  • The exhibition ‘The charge of the Dorset Yeomanry at Agagia, 26th February 1916′ on Friday 29th January 2016 to Saturday 7th January 2017

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Book Launch and Lecture – Genius Friend: G.B. Edwards and ‘The Book of Ebenezer Le Page’ by Professor Edward Chaney

Genius Friend: G.B. Edwards & The Book of Ebenezer Le Pageby Edward ChaneyThis Thursday evening at 7.30pm (doors open 7.30pm) at the Dorset County Museum is pleased to be hosting a talk and book launch by Professor Edward Chaney, a friend of the author of ‘The Book of Ebenezer Le Page’, Gerald Edwards.

For the talk Edward Chaney will return to the county in which he first met Gerald Edwards through his great-aunt Josephine, who lived in Upwey, near Weymouth. Gerald was living in the same village with the Snell family, where with the encouragement of Chaney, he completed his only novel, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page. Published posthumously in 1981, it became a twentieth century classic. The literary connections with Dorset continued when the publishers asked local literary hero, John Fowles, to write an introduction to the novel when it was first published.

In the years since its publication, Professor Chaney has researched the life of his friend to reveal Gerald’s Guernsey origins, and his status as the ‘genius friend’ of a group of writers who contributed to Middleton Murry’s Adelphi in the 1920s. Part memoir, part biography – Genius Friend tells the story of Gerald Edwards’s life from his Guernsey origins through to the period when Chaney knew him in Dorset, illustrated by their correspondence.

This talk is open to everyone and is free of charge, although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Museum launches a new exhibition of stunning railway advertising posters of the 20th Century

Nothing is more evocative of the golden age of travel than the railway poster, and Dorset County Museum is thrilled to be staging an exhibition featuring over 50 famous examples that opens on 19th March. These beautiful works of art were created between 1916 and the 1970s with one aim in mind: to encourage holiday makers to escape the humdrum of every day life and travel by train to the resorts, towns, countryside and special places of Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

A truly classic railyway poster advertising the trip to come: GWR poster from 1938 by Charles H. J. Mayo

A truly classic railyway poster advertising the trip to come: GWR poster from 1938 by Charles H. J. Mayo

The posters conjure up a bygone age of steam engines and old fashioned bathing suits, sunny beaches and the gentle clinking of boats in harbours. There are stunning and iconic landscapes too, immediately recognisable, painted in wonderful colours and promising days out filled with sunshine and relaxation. Town and city views are populated with elegant people, a streamlined locomotive heads a Pullman train – these images bring together the excitement, spectacle and nostalgia of the age.

On display alongside the wide range of posters are some 21st century items that use classic poster design principles, locomotive nameplates, old station totem signs and diverse railway publicity materials and ephemera celebrating the great holiday routes in the West of England. Together they will, without doubt, provoke many nostalgic travel memories.

Speed to the West has been curated by Antiques Roadshow expert and writer Paul Atterbury and Richard Furness, collector, writer and publisher of the Poster to Poster series that have become the definitive books on the subject, supported by the staff of Dorset County Museum.

Paul Atterbury said “During the interwar years the ‘Big Four’ railway companies found that art sold tickets, and between them commissioned an astonishing range of posters from the leading artists and designers of the day. This tradition was maintained, even expanded, in the 1950s and 1960s by the newly nationalised British Railways, whose legacy is a second golden age of posters. This is a wonderful collection that is well worth coming to see, and I’m very pleased to be involved with this exhibition.”

Richard Furness said “Dorset is a beautiful county whose coastline is the subject for some wonderful artwork. Having been studying, collecting and writing about railway art for many years, I am delighted to be playing a part in bringing this unique collection to Dorchester. This exhibition brings together posters spanning a century, and is rounded off with the latest GWR poster which demonstrates that the slogan ‘Speed to the West’ is still actively in use today. Visitors should have a lot to see and reminisce over. Do come and see us!”

Dr Jon Murden, Director of Dorset County Museum said “I’m really excited about this exhibition. The posters and railway memorabilia we’re exhibiting are within living memory for many people, forming a direct link to the past. Added to that, the posters are, of course, things of beauty in their own right and it’s great that they will be here in Dorset for people to see all year.”

A book, illustrating in colour the posters in the exhibition plus others that enrich the story, will be on sale throughout the exhibition priced at £9.95.

  • The exhibition ‘Speed to the West’ A Nostalgic Journey opens at Dorset County Museum on Saturday 19th March 2016 to Saturday 7th January 2017

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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