Posted 13 December 2013 by Andrew Gardner
Sussex resident and keen sailor David Dimbleby - he of the recent tattoo admission - has become the first chairman of Eastbourne's Towner Gallery. I can highly recommend a visit to the Towner if you haven't already been, or a repeat visit if you have, as along with the Pallant in Chichester it's one of South East England's premier art galleries. It opened in 1923 in an 18th century manor house with 22 paintings and £6,000 bequeathed by alderman John Towner, then relocated in 2009 to a state-of-the-art building next to the Congress Theatre where it's home to some 4,000 permanent paintings as well as temporary exhibitions - currently including a fascinating exploration of the space around us by Japanese performance artist Chiharu Shiota. Permanent works include paintings by artists with a Sussex connection including Vanessa Bell and Eric Ravilious, as well as such famous names as Picasso, Alma-Tadema and Grayson Perry, who this year delivered a series of fascinating and thought-provoking Reith Lectures.
Naturally we have a selection of fabulous holiday properties, from cosy cottages to luxury apartments, ideally situated if you'd like to visit Eastbourne.
The Dimbleby tattoo might even become an artwork in its own right as it's caused a media furore. He had the scorpion etched into one shoulder while making his television series Britain and the Sea, from which a panoramic image of Brighton viewed from the sea will stay with me for a long time. In that episode he sailed much of the South East coast, which for centuries was the front line against invading forces from the Normans to the 20th century. We have so much history and heroism surrounding our beautiful Sussex shores that it's not surprising so many artists and writers have found inspiration here. And I can't help recalling a brilliant cartoon series called Maid Marion and her Merry Men by Tony Robinson (sorry, Sir Tony I should say) that ran for four episodes on the Beeb then, illustrated by Hove artist Paul Cemmick, in the children's section of a national newspaper. Anyone else remember that?