Changing Lives: Ditchling Artists in WW1
20 October 2018 - 28 April 2019
Accompanying Max Gill: Wonderground Man, the museum’s Print Gallery will host a display looking at the affect of WW1 on Ditchling’s artistic community. When Max Gill was appointed by the Imperial War Graves Commission to design the lettering on the Cenotaph and every military headstone, he was well aware of the impact that the war had on friends, the artistic community, and even his own family.
The exhibition tells the personal stories of three artist-soldiers: stonecutter Joseph Cribb, who worked with Max Gill on the design of the allied war graves; painter Louis Ginnett, whose experience is conveyed in his watercolours and in a series of letters to his family back home in Ditchling; and painter and poet David Jones, who vividly recorded a life in the trenches that was to affect his work for many years to come.
On the home front, the war years were a time of change for many of the artists. Hilary Pepler, who had started his printing business St. Dominic’s Press in Hammersmith, moved it down to Ditchling in 1915. The press’s wartime output reveals details of exhibitions held, including art sold to fundraise for refugees. Other artists who set up their studios in Ditchling included the weaver Ethel Mairet and her husband Philip, a conscientious objector who was sent to jail, and the painter Frank Brangwyn, who designed posters and stamps to aid the war effort.