As part of our regular tea and talk series we are offering two talks connected to Castle Hedingham and the medieval period.
Wednesday 14 October 2015 at 3pm
The Bingham Pottery of Castle Hedingham with Charles Bird
Incurably romantic, and despite enormous obstacles, Edward Bingham departed from the Victorian staple diet of garden pottery and chimney pots to create a unique and fascinating style of ornamental pottery all his own. He was inspired by medieval and Tudor wares, including the medieval pottery industry at Sible Hedingham, as well as Egyptian, Roman, Greek, French and Venetian designs.
Bingham was born in 1829, the son of a Lambeth potter who set up business in Gestingthorpe, Essex, making functional wares. The family moved to Castle Hedingham in 1837 where Edward assisted his father in the business. However, he always had a more artistic flair, and would model flowers, birds animals and snakes. In 1851 Edward visited the Great Exhibition in London and became inspired by the new decorative arts on display. He received commissions from some influential people but these were not enough to make his business commercially successful, and in 1859 he opened a school. After five or six years he returned to potting full-time, and in 1864 had five or six boys as assistants. His works went on display in Chelmsford, Sudbury and Hertford, and in 1894 he showed his work at the Art and Industries Exhibition at the Albert Hall. Bingham had never been very commercially minded and passed the business on to his son in 1899, who turned out to similarly lack business skills. The industry was sold in 1901 and operated under the name of the Essex Art Pottery until its closure in 1905.
Bingham’s works include jugs, bowls, cups and plates of all sizes – his ‘Essex’ jugs are often three feet high. Edward had a distinctive style, including a watery glaze Pieces from Braintree District Museum’s Bingham collection are on display in the main galleries.
The Hedingham area has had a long association with pottery, the important medieval Hedingham ware industry, from which Bingham drew some of his inspiration, being based in and around Sible Hedingham. This industry produced coarse-wares (simple kitchen wares) and decorated and glazed fine wares, in particular jugs. Pottery continued to be produced at Key pieces from this collection will be on display in our Magna Carta anniversary exhibition ‘Medieval Toil & Trouble – Castle Hedingham : Magna Carta’. This exhibition will be open from 22 September 2015 – 30 January 2016.
Charles Bird has lived in Castle Hedingham for many years and is a great admirer of Bingham’s work. ‘Edward Bingham’s recently discovered diary provides some fascinating sketches of life in the Lambeth potteries, and in the rural parishes where Bingham did some of his best work’’. Charles will be using this diary as a key source during his talk.
Wednesday 25 November 2015 at 3pm
Medieval Castles of East Anglia with David Andrews
Whilst looking at the architectural development of the medieval castle, this talk will also consider its role not just as a place of defence, but as a symbol of power, a focus of settlement, and a home. It will be illustrated in particular by local examples.
Tickets for each talk are just £3 and include light refreshments. To book a place please call 01376 328868.