current exhibitions | 2023
LOWER OTTER RESTORATION PROJECT (LORP)
Major landscaping works that began in 2020 in the Lower Otter Valley have already transformed the tranquil water meadows loved by locals and visitors alike. Before long the old embankments will be breached and the sea will inundate the flood plain at high tide, creating a new salt-marsh habitat. LORP has divided local opinion but its instigators say more flooding was inevitable as sea levels rise, and preempting an uncontrolled breach is best for nature in the long term and will pioneer similar projects on both sides of the channel.
In the 1930s women's fashion in the UK was heavily influenced by Hollywood, where hemlines had dropped to the floor and figure-hugging bias-cut fabrics, natural waists and softly curled hair represented the new femininity. The well-to-do wanted opportunities to dress up and the cocktail hour was invented to fill the time before dinner. Men wore tails, servants served expertly mixed drinks in sparkling cut glass and women dressed like screen goddesses.
Fairlynch founder Joy Gawne was a keen collector of these beautiful clothes, which she sourced from Portobello Market in London, as well as neighbours and friends in Budleigh Salterton.
The garments in the exhibition are in a variety of fabrics, including silk organza, devore velvet and rich taffeta. Most would have been inspired by couture and films and some have been expertly home made. Come and decide which you'd have chosen to wear!
THE JOY GAWNE LACE COLLECTION and lace in childhood
Beautiful examples of the 19th century lacemaker's art, these hand-worked collars are included in our exhibition this year. On the left a Point de Gaze, needle lace from Brussels and on the right a collar of Maltese silk lace.
With them we have a selection of lace baby bonnets, a boy's bonnet and a bonnet sampler dating from 1797, also an embroidered christening gown.
Coronation memorabilia from our collection
Last year we received a generous donation of commemorative china which we display this year alongside some extraordinary silk damask dating back to the coronation of King George IV in 1823.
East devon area of outstanding natural beauty - 60 years
The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is 60 years old this year. Budleigh Salterton is the only town within the East Devon AONB and in this exhibition we highlight some of the many changes that have occurred here, in our neighbouring villages, in the countryside and on the coast during the last 60 years.
CECIL ISOBEL ELGEE 1903-1984
Cecil Elgee (1903 – 84) was a talented artist and professional illustrator who made Budleigh Salterton her home after returning from India in 1927. We have recently acquired two new paintings that join our exhibition this year showcasing her published and personal work including paintings, books and carvings.
ANITA MANDL / DR ANITA JENNINGS
Dr Anita Jennings (née Mandl) resided in Budleigh Salterton for the second half of her eventful life and was an active campaigner for safeguarding the heritage of the town, helping to establish the Otter Valley Association. She was also an accomplished sculptor and our exhibition pays tribute to this multi-facetted woman, who died last year.
Historic photographs and paintings from our collection