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The Wells Canvas WCS Cathedral School Independent Prep Somerset England

The Wells Canvas

In 2008 Somerset artist Bronwen Bradshaw was awarded a grant of money by Somerset Art Works to make a communal drawing of the West Front of Wells Cathedral. The project was named Unfreeze the Music, after a quotation by Schiller: ‘Architecture is Frozen Music’.

A photo of the West Front of the Cathedral was divided into 74 individual black and white photos. These were measured and scaled up, and corresponding pieces of canvas pieces were cut out and coloured with earth pigments to suggest the stone of the Cathedral. Nine professional artists were enlisted to help the public. On 24th June 2008, an unseasonably wet and windy day, they gathered on the Cathedral Green, set up a marquee and the easels, and invited passers by and also people who had seen the publicity posters, to come and draw a section of the Cathedral Front. People worked two to each easel, with umbrellas lashed on top, using black grey and white pastels with their ‘panel’ identified by a piece of the photo. It was a wonderful event in that people, including tourists, who were just not expecting it, joined in; local residents and artists came along, and the team of professional artists were on hand to guide and help.

The completed canvas was shown that year in a barn in West Horrington during Somerset Art Weeks and is now on display in the John Baxter Foyer of Cedars Hall from now until February 2024. We are delighted that this beautiful community piece can now provide a visible link between Wells and the local community to anyone visiting Cedars Hall. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone involved with making this happen and hope that the Canvas can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Artists involved include Bronwen Bradshaw (lead artist), Fiona Hingston and Jan Ollis, assembly of canvas. Other Artis/collaborators: Andrea Clark, Pennie Elfick, Kay Lewis-Bell, Julia Manning, Tony Martin, Diana Milstein, Liz Pearson.

Thanks to other participating partners including SAW, Project Factory and Wells Art Contemporary.