Strong Island Co.

Cultural & Exhibitions

Local Talent Discovered With Southsea Resident ‘Pablo Not Picasso’

Tucapel Pablo Carvajal Woodruffe (Pablo), 31, a local Southsea resident and talented Artist has this week revealed several new pieces that he has secretly been working on. His work is beautiful and bright and he commissions pieces for individuals with a passion for his style, painting the recently wedded local couple, Alan and Katie Robertson with their son Noah.

When asked that oh so common question of why do you love to paint? Pablo responded, ‘I paint because I love the colours, Sometimes I paint with an end goal in mind like if i’m doing a portrait or capturing an image but when I paint for me, I mostly just paint to see the colours and watch how they will blend together each time. My inspiration is from the houses in chile. Particularly one house in particular but the houses there make the landscape seem like one giant painting and wether it’s from a distance or so close that I can touch the bricks, I fall in love with the colours every time.

We asked Pablo if anything in Portsmouth inspired him or helped him with new ideas? He told us ‘the sites of pompey not so much but the general creativity of the people and their commitment to show their art around the city, or the fact that we make moves to push creativity in business by promoting the artists to sell their works on the seafront for example. It makes me as an artist feel like there is potential to be able to do what I love as a job. I hope to be able to live off of my artwork, in all aspects of it, not just the paintings, I’m working on another project that I think will really interest people. With my new project, I’m finding that I am aiming for it to be deliberately done for the public rather than being so selfish about what I want and sticking to what I know, I do like to learn and this is a great way to do it.

Pablo is planning some future exhibitions and with a description of a style as one where he mainly feels for vibrancy and waits for that to come out on paper we are excited to see where his art goes next.

Portsmouth and Southsea is a tremendously creative place and the collaboration of new and upcoming artists only maintains that wondrous atmosphere that we are all proud of.

Keep your eye out for ‘Pablo not Picasso’ and get in touch with him for commissions or to find out where you can spot him and his work.

Follow Pablo on Facebook and on Etsy


Scuba Chan

Morgan Freeman

Portsmouth City Collection Part 1: Lost and Found

Collecting is something that goes way back to the early edges of the modern human psychology, a motivation to draw objects together that have a sense of meaning for the collector, that can illustrate aspects of an identity through representations of places and times past. Pretty much everyone has succumbed to the urge to collect at some stage in their life, be it stamps, stickers, shells, postcards, geology, fine art, sculpture and even aeroplane sick bags and My Little Pony. Beyond individuals, other groups create collections too, from small groups and trusts through to councils and right up to nation states. Portsmouth, like many other cities all over the UK and the World has its own collection of objects that represent its past, its culture and the people who have called it home.

The Portsmouth Collection began with the foundation of the Portsmouth museum service, established by order of the council back in 1892. The Victorians had a strong tradition of philanthropy which allowed the collection to grow from inception with people donating objects and art, the collection in essence owned by the then town (we became a city in 1927) and its people. 

The collection was homed at The Market House & Guildhall on High Street in what is now Old Portsmouth, designed by Benjamin Bramble and opened on June 28th 1838. The building was the civic centre with council chambers plus an open market and even an early police station too. The building quickly ran out of space for city officials so the new Guildhall in Guildhall Square was opened in 1879. With this move the building became the city’s museum and home to the collection.

Market House and Guildhall by Calcott, published by Charpentier
Market House and Guildhall by Calcott, published by Charpentier.

During the blitz in 1941, the city suffered with a huge loss of life and much of the city damaged and broken. On one air raid on the city the museum was bombed, with much of the city collection destroyed. Around 750 objects were saved from the destruction but it is impossible to know how much of the collection was lost as well as what these objects were specifically because all records were destroyed too. Only a handful of paintings were saved and some still show signs of burn damage. These objects that survived (to this day cataloged with ’S’ numbers to signify salvage) were the basis for a new museum service in 1945 with the end of the war.

Market House and Guildhall
Market House and Guildhall after the bombing.

From 1945 the museum service looked to acquire material relating to the history of Portsmouth and the natural history of the local area but also aimed to collect decorative art and modern British art. Under the theme of ‘The History of British Taste’ a national appeal was launched for donations to the collection from both individuals and organisations.

'Outskirts of Portsmouth Dockyard' charcoal drawing by W.H. Clarkson
‘Outskirts of Portsmouth Dockyard’ charcoal drawing by W.H. Clarkson.

The Portsmouth City Collection 70 years later is now both vast in size and scope. The collection contains archaeology, art, literary history, local history, military history and natural science with many of the objects donated or bequeathed to the city. The collection can be viewed at the city’s different museums including: Portsmouth City Museum, Charles Dickens’ Birthplace, The D-Day Museum, Southsea Castle, Cumberland House Natural History Museum & Eastney Beam Engine House. Even with all of these museums and exhibition spaces no more than approximately 15% of the City Collection is on display at any one time. 

With our next article we’ll be exploring the role of a curator for the museum service. If you want to see some of the finest items on the collection be sure to visit the A Hard Choice exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. Many items on show in this exhibition were acquired by Rosalinda Hardiman over the last 35 years during her curatorship.

This Sunday there is a free guided tour around the exhibition by Rosalinda from 3pm to 4pm. Find out about some of the stories behind the objects on show and Rosalinda’s reasons for choosing them. Pre-booking is advised.

Throughout this year you can find out more about the Portsmouth City Collection and the many works of art and objects in contains with a Twitter account, simply follow: @PortsCityCollec

Portsmouth Harbour by Edmund T. Crawford
‘Portsmouth Harbour’ by Edmund T. Crawford.

Combat by Jack Canty
‘Combat’ by Jack Canty.

HMS M.33 Crowdfunding Appeal

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to some of the finest historic ships in the UK, with HMS Victory, HMS Warrior & The Mary Rose all iconic and tourist attractions helping bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. Soon to join this elite flotilla of ships is the HMS M.33, dry docked opposite the Victory and currently undergoing a huge refit inside and out ready for opening to the public in August. The M.33, a Monitor gun platform, was built in only 7 weeks specifically for ship to shore bombardment with it’s two heavy 6 inch guns. The shallow draft with it’s flat bottom design meant it could come close to the shoreline. The ship is one of a handful of Royal Navy craft left from WW1 and the only craft from the Gallipoli campaign, which occurred 100 years ago this year.

The redevelopment of the ship is restoring and redeveloping it from the bare metal up. The craft (and the dry dock) will welcome visitors in through new access points with the lower decks converted in to exhibition spaces. Working upwards the on deck cabins will be restored with the feel of a ship from 1915. The guns are also being lovingly restored by dedicated volunteers too.

Even with all this activity and work ongoing on the ship the National Museum of the Royal Navy is hoping to raise £19,150 to help finish the £2.4m project. The funding is being done through crowdfunding website Indigogo which is an innovative route for sourcing donations for the project for a ship of this type. You can watch the film below for all the details on how any donation will go towards creating another unique visitor experience celebrating the city and the nations nautical heritage.

I visited the ship to see progress in person on a rainy February day, the ship will be up there with its dockyard neighbours and not only that, you’ll also get to actually be in the scheduled monument dry dock too to see the ship from a completely new perspective. You can find out lots more about the project and make a donation before 18th March at:

Below are a selection of images from the visit to HMS M.33, you can see many more on our Flickr.

Have Your Say With the Portsmouth Museum Strategy Survey

Portsmouth Museums Service are conducting a survey about the city’s new museum strategy and would love to know your thoughts. The survey only takes five minutes and can help shape the future of the museums, their exhibitions and their community engagement in Portsmouth.

You can read the draft strategy document and fill out the short survey HERE until the 1st March.

Portsmouth Harbour by Edmund T. Crawford

Here and There Exhibition at aspex Gallery and aspex Guildhall

Tomorrow sees the celebration event of Here and There Exhibition at aspex Gallery & aspex Guildhall, the basement gallery in Portsmouth Guildhall run with aspex Gallery. This two site show is the inaugural exhibition of works by members of aspex artists associates including Amyrose Dempsey, Amanda Bates, Jan Johnston, Deborah Richards, James McLellan (work above), Jacqueline Rolls, Naty Lopez & Oana Damir.

‘Here’ is aspex, featuring paintings, photographs, videos and sculpture by eight artists. ‘There’ is offsite at aspex Guildhall and will feature the work of a further eight artists. ‘There’ show opened previously on the 28th January.

Here and There runs from Wednesday 18th February to Saturday 14th March 2015. Tomorrow (Wednesday 18th February) is the celebration event for the exhibition:

5.30pm: Starts at aspex
6.30pm – 6.45pm: Leave aspex for Guildhall
7.00pm – 8.30pm: Event at Guildhall

The exhibition is free on both sites. Find out more about the exhibition HERE.

Here and There Exhibition at aspex Gallery and aspex Guildhalll

A Hard Choice Exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum Opens Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the opening of A Hard Choice exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum, this year’s main exhibition for the city’s museum service. The exhibition has been personally curated by Rosalinda Hardiman, the inspirational museum collections manager, and draws on her many years of expertise as a curator and her detailed knowledge of the Portsmouth City Collection.

The exhibition features around 120 favourite objects from all the different aspects of the city collection and range from an 800-year-old cosmetic jar to a Second World War bomb found in Guildhall Walk. Other items are a mirror believed to have been owned by royal mistress Lily Langtry, seaside postcards, and a Turner painting of Portsmouth Harbour. Other treasures include visiting cards used by Mr and Mrs Charles Dickens, and works by Stanley Spencer, Walter Sickert and Jacob Epstein.

The 250kg bomb, from 1941, was discovered in Guildhall Walk in 1984. Rosalinda, hoping to retrieve tiles from a building site, clambered over it without knowing it was there. It was later safely detonated.

Items from Rosalinda’s fascinating life will also be on display – including medals and mementoes from her days as a top international swimmer. She competed in the Atlanta and Sydney Paralympic Games, took five world records and swam the Channel.

Rosalinda, who has been with Portsmouth City Council’s museums service for 35 years, said: “If you count every insect in our natural history cabinets and all the prehistoric pieces of flint in the archaeology collection, then we have half a million objects. It’s a mammoth task looking after all those items – and yes, we have parts of mammoths too. I’m so enthusiastic about our collections and wanted to share my sheer joy in being able to work with such inspiring things. As well as the ‘official’ information about the objects I wanted to reveal some of the personal stories attached to them.”

The exhibition opens tomorrow from 10am and will run through to September, with many different activities, events, talks and more happening over the coming weeks and months.

A Hard Choice

Rosalinda Hardiman
Photo from a photo shoot Strong Island had with Rosalinda in her incredible office at Portsmouth City Museum.

Photos From ‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space

I popped by the ‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space at the new Eldon wing the other day. The exhibition is in the smaller exhibition area with work from lots of different types of practices taking up the walls and plinths in place. The lion’s share of the work is illustration but there are some great pieces of 3D (such as the birds of Los Dave) plus an animation playing on a screen too. Below are a few favourites within the exhibition, be sure to drop by before the exhibition closes, it is free to view and well worth your time.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (1)

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (2)
Stag, taken from sketchbook of Paige Jones.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (3)
Birds by Los Dave.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (4)
Deer Miss by Paige Jones.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (5)
Running Hare by Libbie Carr.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space (6)
Pigeons of Portsmouth by Dale Silvester.

Under the Spotlight at the Coastguard Studio

A quick reminder that this Friday sees the Coastguard Studio open the doors on their first in-house exhibition, Under The Spotlight.

Featuring work from over forty local artists and artisans, the show promises to be a complete exposé of our cities creative output, from well known faces to some you may not have encountered yet.

Under The Spotlight opens at 5pm on Friday. Those with children are encouraged to visit early as the gallery fills quickly.

Portsmouth Collectors Get to Be Part of the City’s Next Big Exhibition

Portsmouth City Museum has been home to some fantastic exhibitions recently, with the temporary city residency of a mummy for the Secret Egypt exhibition, the engaging Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete bringing the brutalist structure back to life in a community context plus the most recent Lest We Forget bringing the lives of Portsmouth people from the Great War back in clear focus. The upcoming exhibition A Hard Choice, which starts on 14 February will feature around 120 favourite objects from the city’s museum collection, chosen by collections manager Rosalinda Hardiman. The exhibition will reveal many of the treasures that form the Portsmouth City Collection and help detail the role of a curator who works with such a huge collection.

Local collectors (curators!) are being given a chance to show their most prized treasures to the wider world by getting involved with A Hard Choice. To take part you can apply to Portsmouth Museum for a chance to have highlights from your personal collection put on public show alongside the main exhibition. Judges will pick their favourite three collections, and a selection from each one will be displayed for two months, between March and September.

Cllr Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “We’re very lucky to have some wonderful treasures on view in our museums, which belong to the city’s collection…but it’s not often that ordinary people get a chance to show the world their collections ­ – the treasures they’re passionate about.

We’re calling this project the Community Collections Showcase, because a selection from each collection will be in its own showcase in the exhibition. Anyone who lives in Portsmouth can apply to have their collection considered. We want to hear why they collect what they do, and what makes the objects so fascinating.”

You can find out how to apply HERE. The closing date is 15th February.

Strong Island will be helping to celebrate and share the Portsmouth City Collection throughout the A Hard Choice exhibition, revealing the collection’s past, present & future plus the many different aspects of a collection forming 100s of thousands of objects, paintings, photographs and much more.

'Portsmouth Harbour' by Edmund T. Crawford
‘Portsmouth Harbour’ by Edmund T. Crawford, a fine art oil painting and part of the the Portsmouth City Collection.

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space Launches Today

This evening sees the opening of a new exhibition at Space at the University of Portsmouth with the artist preview of Illustrated Menagerie. The exhibition is an extension of a project from the first year of the BA (Hons) Illustration course where students select and research an animal of their choice, aiming to illustrate what it is about the animal which catches their interest.

Senior Lecturer, Nicola Hay, runs both the academic project and the Illustrated Menagerie itself which gathers examples of the works produced dating back now to 2009. She describes the unit as:

“A really vibrant, informative, exciting project to work on with the students. The subject matter is always enjoyable and I learn something new and often rather weird every year.”

“I set up the Illustrated Menagerie initially because so many wonderful illustrations, 3 dimensional pieces, sketchbooks, animations and prints were produced every year that I wanted to record them, and gradually this grew to quite an extent so I put it online for the students to be able to see. We got quite a following with the online blog, so the next move was to try to include local artists also exploring this subject matter.”

The Menagerie is thrilled to invite on board local artists My Dog Sighs and Los Dave who have been commissioned to work on the project. As well as producing pieces for the exhibition, the pair will also be delivering a public lecture regarding their working methods and processes, a central theme to the initial project.

Third year student, Jordan Baines, who also has his work in the exhibition, says: “It’s a great opportunity for another audience to see my work, I primarily make artwork for myself, and if I can influence, inspire, excite or inform someone along the way then that’s great! The animal kingdom is such a wondrous and diverse place. So an exhibition dedicated to celebrating those we share this place we call home, is very fitting and worthwhile.”

Exhibition Dates: 2nd to 27th February, 2015, 9am – 5pm weekdays.
Meet the Artists: 30th January, 2015, 4pm – 7pm.
Public Lecture: 11 February, 3pm, EW1.11, FREE, book your place via Eventbrite HERE.

Space, Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, PO1 2DJ.

To see more of what inspired the ‘Illustrated Menagerie’ exhibition, please visit:

‘Illustrated Menagerie’ Exhibition at Space Launches Today

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Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre in Southsea is continuing is restorations, this afternoon they were taking the roof top away, we’re assuming for some repairs and maintenance work.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 2

A new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up this week.

This episode has focuses on Canoe Lake and the Model Village.

By The Castle

Apologies for a little self-linkage, but I’ve added some photos from a July day down by the castle on Forever Circling (a photography, etc blog I update daily).

It’s sunny today too, roll on spring and summer.

Around the Castle

HMS Vanguard (1960)

Man, these photos are pretty damn epic. Both show the HMS Vangaurd that went aground just feet away from alongside the Still & West and Spice Island in 1960.

“On 4 August 1960, when she was to be towed from Portsmouth to the breakers yard at Faslane, Scotland, the whole of the Southsea sea front was packed with people to see her off. As she was being towed towards the harbour entrance, she slewed across the harbour to the Still & West public house and went aground. She was eventually pulled off by tugs and finally made her exit from Portsmouth. Five days later she arrived at Faslane and by the spring of 1962 Vanguard ceased to exist, never having fired her guns in anger.” (from Wikipedia)

It’s also great to see that area of Old Portsmouth in detail from 50 years ago. There is no sea wall in place, some kind of out building on the corner of Spice Island, what looks like early dry dock developments and I love the way Broad Street goes straight in to the drink. See what you can see. Click the images for a much closer look.

Via : Jainbow

Local Photographer – Duncan Allan

We recently mentioned local photographer Duncan Allan’s framing skills but we also want to profile Duncan’s creative photography too. With a wealth of knowledge in different cameras and experimentation in many different techniques (both with film and with Photoshop and Lightroom), Duncan has a strong collection of images from the local area and all around the world. Here are a few of our favourites but they are just the tip of the iceberg, to see more check Duncan’s Flickr.

Red Scale

Strong Island Clothing Co.