August 2019

Ken White Triptych Lydird House

Well. here’s a thing. These past few months, alongside writing Swindon in 50 Buildings, I’ve been working concurrently on Ken White’s story: A Ken White Retrospective.

I, like many other people I daresay, had formed the impression that the only piece of Ken’s Swindon work, still in existence, is the Golden Lion mural.

So imagine my surprise when, just t’other day, a tweet appeared on my Twitterfeed from the friends of Lydiard Park with an image of a painting of Lydiard House, that Ken did in 2005. I rather get the impression it’s been in storage or something. Certainly, I’ve been in that house more than a few times and never seen it. Even now it’s leaning against the wall in a tucked away corner of the rooms that are open.

Which rather begs the question Lydiard House management, WHY in God’s name do you not have this artwork on permanent display and shout it from the room tops? With Ken’s story due to be published soon you’re missing one heck of a marketing opportunity. #justsaying

Ken White's tryptych at Lydiard House

Ken created the triptych as a joint project between Ken and Intel. Some Intel staff did some of the painting. The idea of the artwork was, according to Ken, for children to find things in the painting around the house.

Indeed, hidden in the bottom right hand corner is the image of a very famous Swindon figure.

What else is there to see at Lydiard House?

Well. Quite rather a lot actually. The member of staff on duty, Adrian Smith, gave me a bit of a tour explaining some of the paintings etc. He’s really very knowledgeable – as you’d expect – and I must seek him out again and pay more attention. Why? Because, TBH, I was too stunned about the Ken White triptych to concentrate fully. That and thinking, as Adrian spoke, that small in number as the available rooms at Lydiard might be – there’s a heck of a lot of stuff that is simply not shouted about enough. WHY is Swindon so bad at this?

For example on this visit I noticed a couple of watercolours that I rather liked, created to accompany a 1951 newspaper article about the house written by none other than Aldous Huxley of Brave New World fame.

water colour of lydiard

I also rather liked this one:

Artwork in Lydiard House showing the Golden Cavalier monument in St Mary's Church.

Then there’s the Socchi desk, the portrait of Lady Diana Spencer – ancestor of the Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales we all know. And so much more.

So – if you’ve never been – or you’ve never been for a while, give it another look. https://www.lydiardpark.org.uk/info/8/lydiard-house-0

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