Discovering Poole exhibition

A surprise in the ‘Discovering Poole’ art exhibition in Poole Museum is a painting Branksome Dene which I have never seen before.

It is by James Duffield Harding and is dated 1858. A handy map beside the painting confirms that the the artist chose to sit on the eastern side of the chine. His view is across Branksome Dene Chine with the bay curving towards Sandbanks on the left and Branksome Towers high up to the right.

I would suggest that this vantage point is the top of today’s path up from the chine and is on the old county boundary, now just the Poole-Bournemouth boundary. Here the path, part of today’s coast path, is being used by a shooting party.

There are other delights in the exhibition such as Roger Fry’s painting Studland Beach 1911. Several artists seemed to have been drawn to the view of Poole Harbour from above Studland.

I went guessing that there would be work by my godfather Leslie Ward. I still have the Bournemouth OS map he gave me. I think he preferred Poole to Bournemouth for painting although he was responsible for the much reproduced picture of Robert Louis Stevenson’s house in Bournemouth before it was bombed.

I was pleased to find work by Eustace Nash whose Bathing at Studland is on the poster.

‘Discovering Poole: an artist’s haven 1850-1950’ continues at Poole Museum until 28 February 2010; admission free.

See pages 26-27.

About Leigh Hatts

Leigh Hatts is an experienced walker and has known the local coastline since childhood. He is the author of many successful walking guides.
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