Henry Sandon MBE portrait unveiled

Henry Sandon final

Henry Sandon MBE by Sara Hayward MA(RCA) , oil on canvas, 60″ x 40″, Museum of Royal Worcester 

“I think it’s fabulous. It makes me look happy which is what I always am. I’m delighted with it,” said Henry, 29th August 2014. 

Visitors to the Museum of Royal Worcester can now see my portrait of Henry Sandon hanging upstairs near the twentieth century gallery. BBC Midlands Today recorded the occasion as the portrait was officially unveiled with plenty of style and ceremony by Cynthia Crawford MBE in the museum last Friday. Painted between March and June this year it is is the first to be completed of two portraits I started of Henry. I am hoping – if Henry is willing – to complete the second portrait of Henry holding a Royal Worcester pot- in the autumn, with a view to showing it elsewhere.

Henry is not only a great character but also an affable raconteur and it was wonderful to hear tales of his growing up in London and his career at Worcester Porcelain. Outside builders and cranes on Severn Street kept us entertained as did visitors to the museum coming into our temporary studio who were clearly very excited to have stumbled across their Antiques Road Show hero. Henry is a national treasure, giving generously of his time to charities and institutions; multi talented, larger than life, a gentleman to the core, he is joyous; I wanted to capture something of his great integrity and also sense of humour. A friend said to me, “Make sure you capture the twinkle in his eye!” and I hope I have. Notice the distinctive teapot tie and his laughter lines. My inspiration for the painting were paintings by Bonnard; inspired by his use of  heightened colour and vibrant mark making. 

My thanks go to to the museum for the commission; I hope it does Henry justice. Henry likes the portrait, his family like it, the museum like it and so far so do the visitors. I hope you like it too. Pop in and see it if you can! It’s a gem of a museum and well worth visiting.

Museum of Royal Worcester, Severn Street, Worcester Open Monday to Saturday, March to October 10am – 5pm November to February 10am – 4pm  


Cinquaine 1

slated vaulted
shading smoking hiding
place of peace

Emeritus Worcestershire Poet Laureate Maggie Doyle & Sara Hayward MA (RCA)


Pilgrim Poetry Workshop in the Crypt at Worcester Cathedral Worcestershire Literary Festival 2014

The Pilgrim workshop at Worcester Cathedral was shared between artist Sara Hayward and Worcestershire Poet Laureate Emeritus Maggie Doyle. In the atmospheric crypt the journey of The Worcester Pilgrim was discussed as poets and writers set about discovering their own pilgrimage. Ms Hayward brought along a piece of her artwork as inspiration.


Art Review: Lucy Tomlins


water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

It is fitting that the current sound installation by artist Lucy Tomlins- composed of moments recorded at a Premier League football match and interlaced with recordings by Worcester Cathedral choristers- can be found in the Cathedral’s Chapter House, for its unique circular design creates near perfect acoustics. Normally one person talking can be heard from any other seat in this round building so it is an extraordinary experience to hear the whole of the West Bromwich Albion fan base juxtaposed with Worcester Cathedral’s choir in songs of praise and worship.

Familiar renditions of psalms and football songs are interwoven to create a new evocative sound piece which is mesmerising, haunting and at times startling. Laughter, clapping, chanting, and sudden silence capture the fervour, euphoria & disappointment of the football ground; the harmony and the discord.

This is a must hear experience especially to convert those who only see art as visual. Whilst I was there visitors commented, “profoundly clever,” “excited as a Baggies fan,” “loud.”

Built nearly a thousand years ago the Chapter House was once a meeting place for monks; now hearing the roof raised to both the angelic and raucous strains of Psalm 23 and When the Saints Go Marching In, I think they would approve.

Art Review: Dan Roach


water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Art Review

A new exhibition in Worcester Cathedral, “The Foundations of Remembrance “by Cumbrian born artist and University of Worcester lecturer Dan Roach shows five recent abstract paintings and one drawing in a quiet corner of the cathedral known as the crypt. “Crypt” meaning “hidden place” is very apt as the viewer has to search out the art works hidden in and amongst the thousand year old stone pillars as the artist creates a dialogue between his art and the cathedral architecture.

The exhibition concludes his eighteen month artist in residency; small, intimate in scale and finely executed, the paintings contrast with the almighty scale of the cathedral and have a whispering presence; however with no labelling there are few clues as to their meaning. The paintings are a response to Dan’s memories of places he once inhabited and an attempt to visualise the sensation of security he once felt.

During the course of his residency he has developed a visual language based on the motif of a six sided shape taken from a wasps’ nest. “I’m interested in the notion of re-visitation to places that no longer exist and how the poetic reimaging of such spaces might be explored through painting and drawing,” he states. The resulting exhibition is contemplative, enigmatic and worth revisiting if only to find some answers.

High winds & blades Day 18


water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Wednesday 17th April.

My how the year is skidding past. High winds meant that on arrival one of the volunteers who had been helping the staff put up a large marquee was very nearly badly hurt when a sudden gust meant the whole thing buckled; needless to say it was taken down immediately. Working on the process today cutting stencils and trying not to cut my fingers off. I was taking a section form a painting and putting it into another – like a transplant – or inlay. Popping out the stencils reminded me of those found at the bottom of the cereal packet. The plastic I am using is very strong consequently very difficult to cut. Forgot the plasters but didn’t need them. Realise I was working with stencils at the Museum of Royal Worcester. Forgot my camera. Went for a walk after lunch and saw these enormous yellow “crocae” which are called swamp lanterns (or skunk cabbage). Chatted to volunteer Hugh who was digging the anthemis border which was decimated by last year’s wet summer; also Berry who was tidying up the sunken garden and asked me if her eye looked sore; fortunately not.Yesterday I wrote a review of the Lucy Tomlins sound installation at Worcester Cathedral which I will upload plus my review of Dan Roach’s exhibition. Chatted to folk from Canada and southern India. Of course today was the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral so Winterbourne was very quiet. Arrived home at six thirty and slept for over an hour.

Snow & Smocking Day 5


water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

February 11th 2013

Woke up to snow- roads chaotic and missed my train. Was dropped off at Shrub Hill to hear my train had been cancelled but would be going form Foregate Street. Guard said I might just make it (in hindsight I think he thought I was in a car) so I ran from Shrub Hill to Foregate Street, leaping up the stairs two at a time just as the whistle blew and blow me! they wouldn’t let me on. I had to wait an hour for the next train which turned out to be recovery time in the hotel over the road. Finally at Winterbourne I drew an elevated view point of the garden from the window, an Edwardian smocked dress in the nursery and Nina’s teenage well worn leather boots similar to a pair I used to have (“strong boots for sculpture”). Also began an oil painting in dark under drawing of burnt umber. Incidentally Rymans were happy to sell me a blackboard – to write when I’m next in – but had no chalk!  Museum was very quiet because of the snow. This drawing approach with vertical emphasis is influencing my painting approach. Asparagus cup a soup at lunch time was certainly not homegrown but very welcome on a bitter cold day all the same. I’m not adding any Liquin to the oil  in order to retain brush marks and I think I prefer it. Chatted to two young ladies from Holland; one so fluent that she sounded English (when I asked her if she was English she said her mother would be delighted). Tried to capture the view from the hobbies’ room on my mini video only to find the card was full so used a trusty pencil instead. Then on to a private view at Worcester Cathedral to write a review of work of Dan Roach’s work. I like the time between four and five most when all the visitors have gone.