Local independent boarding school for girls, Downe House, has paid tribute to the brave men and women who served in the armed forces or who worked for the war effort during the first and second world wars with a stunning musical performance during the school’s annual Michaelmas Concert, held on the eve of Remembrance Sunday. The school’s award-winning choir performed a beautiful rendition of In Flanders Fields accompanied by its talented Chamber Orchestra. As the performance began, a single trumpet sounded the Last Post from the balcony above the stage, as a flurry of poppies cascaded from the ceiling down over the audience. More than 200 staff, pupils and their families, alumnae and members of the local community attended the concert.
Every year, Downe House stages a beautiful Remembrance art exhibition as part of its tribute, featuring a wide range of works created by talented pupils and its Creative Art Scholars. This year, a range of incredible artwork was exhibited in the Murray Centre on the school grounds. Figurative ink paintings inspired by the work of war artists, Sir Frank Brangwyn and Eric Kennington were cut out and mounted on to a metal and mesh frame to create a sculptural installation inspired by the work of Christian Boltansky.
Pupils also created a stunning poppy field landscape ragging composition, based on the work of the Dublin born fine artist John Nolan. His work is characterised by the use of vibrant colour. Each student created a personal response to the artist’s work by selecting from a range of colours and yarns that are pulled through hessian to create the final ragging composition. Each composition contains unique elements, however, the class as a whole chose to create a cohesive display of work.
The final pieces were stunning mixed media poppies on canvas, inspired by the artist Sheryll K Fox. The girls drew out poppy designs then applied tissue paper/diluted PVA to create areas of relief, then they added colour with acrylic and acrylic ink. Quink ink was added to the backgrounds to create a contrast to the poppies.
Emma McKendrick, Headmistress at Downe House School, commented: ‘Our pupils have used their incredible talents and creativity to create some absolutely stunning pieces of artwork for our Remembrance exhibition this year. It has been such a wonderful tribute and an opportunity for our pupils to reflect. We have also displayed a number of relief poppies in our Chapel, where we held a special service on Remembrance Sunday.’
On the Friday 11th November, the Downe House Chapel Bell also signalled a minute’s silence, and the soulful echoes of the Last Post could be heard all around campus, played in the Cloisters by one of the school’s Upper Fifth (Year 11) musicians, Serena.
See Downe House’s online listing here.