Wokingham Art Society
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Frieze

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We now have an 18th panel for Her Majesty's 90th Birthday
The frieze now measures 36 metres!



. . . and the March 2017 Leisure Painter mentioned it, prompted by our 2016 Annual Exhibition

. . . . and so did Paint Magazine, March 2017 edition, issued by the SAA, Society for All Artists"
.
See the Video
Also an Animated slide show by Sue Smith and a letter from the Queen
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panel 1
panel 2
panel 3
panel 4
panel 5
panel 6
panel 7
panel 8
panel 9
panel 10
panel 11
panel 12
panel 13
panel 14
panel 15
panel 16
panel 17
panel 18 (90th b'day)
The idea of creating a story of the significant events of the Queen’s reign took six months to bring to fruition under the leadership of
Our Chairman and Vice-Chairman, Sue Smith and Chris Parry respectively
Annet Pullen, Publicity Officer, who took care of promoting the Frieze
and myself, Madeline Hawes, Secretary, acting as Town Council/Art Society liaison.

The 11 main artists created a total of seventeen 2 metre long panels, each painting either one or two. A similar number of other members contributed to the painting process.

The 17 painted panels were then connected by a "ribbon" timeline showing the relevant dates of the scenes depicted.

From 3 June 2012 the 34 metre long Frieze was on display for a week in Wokingham Town Hall, while all sorts of celebratory activities took place within the town – concerts, street entertainment, the Big Lunch, all bedecked with red, white and blue.

Despite the rain, the town was packed with revellers. Because of the rain, the Town Hall was packed with revellers, adding their little likenesses to the lower border of the Frieze, completing a crowd of over 500 people watching the events pass by.

Everyone who saw it loved it, the movers & shakers, the REME soldiers, the Councillors, the townspeople, all saying that it must be kept within Wokingham for everyone to enjoy. Then silence. No-one approached WAS with any offers of where the Frieze could be displayed permanently. So it was rolled up and stored at Chris Parry’s house.

I couldn’t bear to see all that talent forgotten, so the first step was to get the Frieze panels professionally photographed locally. Now those photos would help us to place those wonderful paintings on any medium in any size.

Eventually, in April 2013, Sue Smith and I managed to get a meeting with the SW Trains Development Manager. It was Malcolm who had the brainwave of printing the panels on tiles. He agreed that the Frieze would look great in tile form set into stone at the new railway station, in the new wall. He even found a tile supplier and provided a quotation while we applied to several bodies for sponsorship, succeeding with Wokingham Town Council and The Wokingham Society, who agreed to share the £5,000 cost.

Then the quotation was withdrawn! So we had the sponsorship, but no quote. Malcolm promised to find another prospective supplier, which he did, but the sample tile was matt and dull, nothing like the previous sample. It was October by then, and he asked me to try to find suitable suppliers for the artwork, tiles and stonework, which I did. In fact, I went back to the original quotation provider, who agreed to supply the artwork and who gave me the name of the tile supplier in Newcastle-under-Lyme, who was more than happy to be involved again.

Then I googled Stonemasons and found an experienced mason in Bognor Regis, who was intrigued with what we were trying to do and sent a quotation and a beautiful booklet of his work. I immediately sent the costings to Malcolm. An email came back “This is not going in the wall!” He said that he wasn’t convinced that a huge and heavy stone slab wouldn’t pull the wall down, despite several assurances from various quarters that it would be fine.

As the time ticked on, we realised why it wasn’t going in the wall. The wall was less than 5 feet high! We were literally and metaphorically stonewalled! Now what? A meeting with our Town Clerk, Jan Nowecki, with a cry for help, was the best move I made! She picked up the thread, promised to “pull a rabbit out of the hat” and wrote to SW Trains’ parent company, Network Rail.

Whatever was in that letter certainly did the trick. Malcolm approached a design company in Brighton, who came up with a double-sided, free-standing, oak-framed installation, using two sets of our beautiful tiles, with a flower trough under it to really set it off. For WAS, there couldn’t have been a better result!

But there was! Jan found out that the new Medical Centre was being opened by HRH The Duchess of Gloucester on Wednesday, 26 March 2014, perfect timing for our art installation to be unveiled too. Thanks to Jan, she managed to add our unveiling to the Duchess’ visit, with the High Steward of Wokingham Lady Elixabeth Godsal and Town Mayor Martin Bishop in attendance. Again, despite the rain, the Duchess’ visit was wonderful, talking to the artists about their respective panels and showing great interest and enthusiasm about this unique celebration of Her Majesty’s reign.

Write up by Madeline Hawes

Panoramic view during set-up,


during the official opening,


at the unveiling of the tiles at Wokingham station



and the finished display.

See the Video
Also an Animated slide show by Sue Smith and a letter from the Queen

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All images on this website are the copyright of either the Wokingham Art Society or the individual artists
This document is maintained by Sam Dauncey