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Appeal for Artwork and Memories of Eric Houlgrave - Local Artist and Teacher 26 September 2005

    Manx National Heritage plan to stage an exhibition of the work of the late Eric Houlgrave. They are appealing for people to come forward with memories or stories about the artist or anyone who would like to loan a piece of his work for the exhibition.

    Eric Houlgrave was a well known and influential figure in the Manx art scene. He studied at Leeds College of Art and moved to the Isle of Man in 1948 with his wife Kathleen after spending their honeymoon on the Island. Mr. Houlgrave was appointed to the staff of Ramsey Grammar School, but was recruited by the then School of Technology and Crafts, better known as Kensington Road Art School. This was to be a post for the remainder of his working life and he moved with the school when it became part of the Isle of Man College of Further Education. Many local students thrived under the artistic guidance of Mr. Houlgrave, certainly contributing to the success of today’s local artists and flourishing art scene. Eric Houlgrave Exhibition Appeal

    Eric Houlgrave was famous for his calligraphy, bookbinding, pottery, photography and watercolour painting; he also did some carving. He retired in 1977 and he and his wife, also an accomplished artist and teacher, developed the Foxdale Craft Centre with Mr. and Mrs. Baillie-Searle. The Foxdale Craft Centre was extremely innovative, a haven for people to develop their artistic talents under the guidance of four talented artists. As well as show casing the work of local artists, it also ran classes in a diverse range of disciplines from embroidery to photography.

    Examples of Eric Houlgrave’s work can still be seen around the Isle of Man. During the Manx Millennium year he was asked to design the entrance sign for Tynwald National Park at St. Johns. He was also asked to design commemorative egg cups which were presented to local school children by Patrick Parish Commissioners to mark the Millennium. Examples of his calligraphy work can also be seen inside St. John’s Church, Ballaugh New Church and inside the Tynwald Pub, St. Johns.

    Manx National Heritage are excited to be staging the exhibition of Eric Houlgrave’s work. Katie King and Nicola Tooms, MNH Assistant Curators, said:

    “This will be the first major exhibition of Eric Houlgrave’s work to be staged on the Island. We hope to compliment his beautiful artwork with a story of his life and achievements. We would very much like to speak to anyone who has been taught by Eric, either at the college or the Foxdale Craft Centre, to help us convey in this exhibition the inspiration Eric gave to the local population”.

    Manx National Heritage are working closely with Eric’s daughter, Deborah Taubman and widow Stephanie Houlgrave in developing this exhibition. Deborah Taubman would like to take this opportunity to appeal for the return of a book which contained a collection of her late mother’s hand drawn costume and fashion drawings.

    If anyone would like to contribute information or artwork for the exhibition please contact Katie or Nicola at the Museum.

    Image Caption: 1) Eric Houlgrave (kneeling on front row, left) and colleague Norman Sayle with Kensington Road Art School Students.

    26th September 2005

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