SESSIONS ENGLISH MEMORIAL BRASSES

Lee Burrow with memorial brass of “Sir George Speke” Dowlish Wake Somerset. In armour, c. 1528  GALLERY AT THE CENTER TO FEATURE

SESSIONS ENGLISH MEMORIAL BRASSES

The “Sessions English Memorial Brasses” will be on exhibit at the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center from October 15 through November 30, 2013. The collection consists of twelve brass memorial plaques, facsimiles of originals that are housed in English churches.  In mediaeval England it was the custom for those who died to have brass plaques engraved to their memory.  These were often tomb markers and portraits and were laid on the floor or walls of the church.  The memorial portraits are accurate pictures of the past, telling us about social customs, armour, trades, professions, and family stories.  They depict a 350-year period of England’s history.  Several thousand of these “brasses” adorned churches throughout England, but religious purges in the 1500’s and 1600’s destroyed and damaged many. The popular hobby of brass rubbing – rubbing an impression of the engraving onto paper using a hard wax crayon – is thought by some to have added more to the damage.

Each piece in the Sessions Collection was either acquired or commissioned by Dr. Kenneth Sessions while he was living in England and together, represented a cross-section of brasses found in English churches. The facsimiles were molded on the original brass in the church to give them the exact size and character of the originals.  The replicas could be safely rubbed to produce an exact result.  It is a simple and beautiful, ages-old art form, easily managed by everyone.  Sessions brought his collection to Ava, Missouri, where they subsequently went on loan to the Ava Fine Art Gallery and Museum.  When Dr. Sessions left Ava for a home in Waco, Texas, he transferred ownership of the collection to Lee Burrow, president of the Ava Art Guild and co-owner with her spouse Chuck of the Ava Fine Art Gallery, Three Sisters Store, and the Ava Theater. Under Lee’s auspices, the brasses were exhibited for a number of years at the Upstairs Gallery, where many children and adults had the opportunity to view the extraordinary artwork and make brass rubbings of their own to take home.

In January of this year, Lee and Chuck made their new home in West Plains, and with them, the Sessions English Memorial Brasses found a new home with the West Plains Council on the Arts. The twelve panels range greatly in size.  The smallest, “Anne A. Wode (Wood)” measuring 8” x 20” is described as a lady holding two swaddled chrysams (infants) who died in childbirth.  It is dated at 1512.  The largest, “The Peyton Trio” measuring 39” x 81” memorializes Sir Thomas Peyton and his three wives, c.1484.  The WPCA will host a Meet-the-Artist and Thank-You reception for Lee and Chuck Burrow on Saturday, October 26 from 10 am to noon, in the Gallery at the Center.  Lee will share background information on the Sessions Collection and lead a hands-on workshop on making brass rubbings for children and adults.

brassrubbingBrass rubbings workshops for school groups will be offered. Those interested in arranging such a workshop should call Paula Speraneo at 417-293-2325.

Kenneth Sessions while he was living in England and together, represented a cross-section of brasses found in English churches. The facsimiles were molded on the original brass in the church to give them the exact size and character of the originals.  The replicas could be safely rubbed to produce an exact result.  It is a simple and beautiful, ages-old art form, easily managed by everyone.  Sessions brought his collection to Ava, Missouri, where they subsequently went on loan to the Ava Fine Art Gallery and Museum.  When Dr. Sessions left Ava for a home in Waco, Texas, he transferred ownership of the collection to Lee Burrow, president of the Ava Art Guild and co-owner with her spouse Chuck of the Ava Fine Art Gallery, Three Sisters Store, and the Ava Theater. Under Lee’s auspices, the brasses were exhibited for a number of years at the Upstairs Gallery, where many children and adults had the opportunity to view the extraordinary artwork and make brass rubbings of their own to take home.

In January of this year, Lee and Chuck made their new home in West Plains, and with them, the Sessions English Memorial Brasses found a new home with the West Plains Council on the Arts. The twelve panels range greatly in size.  The smallest, “Anne A. Wode (Wood)” measuring 8” x 20” is described as a lady holding two swaddled chrysams (infants) who died in childbirth.  It is dated at 1512.  The largest, “The Peyton Trio” measuring 39” x 81” memorializes Sir Thomas Peyton and his three wives, c.1484.  The WPCA will host a Meet-the-Artist and Thank-You reception for Lee and Chuck Burrow on Saturday, October 26 from 10 am to noon, in the Gallery at the Center.  Lee will share background information on the Sessions Collection and lead a hands-on workshop on making brass rubbings for children and adults.

Brass rubbings workshops for school groups will be offered. Those interested in arranging such a workshop should call Paula Speraneo at 417-293-2325.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.