Monday, September 22, 2014

Captain Bruce Bairnsfather exhibition in Plugstreet (Sept 19 - Dec 24 2014)

A few weeks ago I got this kind invitation:

Mr. Gilbert DELEU, Mayor,
Mr. Didier VANDESKELDE, Chairman of "Plugstreet 14-18 experience", Deputy Mayor for Cultural Affairs,
Mr. Luc DE GEEST, Deputy Mayor for Tourism,

are delighted to invite you to the lecture proposed by Tonie and Valmai HOLT, and the inauguration of temporary exhibition "Captain Bruce Bainrsfather, the Creator of Old Bill and the Better 'Ole".

Last Friday I attended the excellent lecture given by Tonie and Valmai Holt. We all learned some interesting facts about the artist and his character Old Bill. Tonie showed us some trench and other maps to locate the places, farms and cottages  where Bruce Bairnsfather (BB) spent his time during his short stay in Belgium and where he was a witness of the Plugstreet Christmas Truce in December 1914.

I was delighted to hear that the famous BB, until the end of his life in 1959, was a very kind, amiable and cordial person. So are Tonie and Valmai Holt who gave the lecture. I was happy to see them again after we met in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dead of BB.  The temporary exhibition shows a (small) part of the impressive BB collection owned by Tonie and Valmai: Grim wades, trench art, glass slides, jigsaw puzzles, cards, postcards, prints, magazines, etc.

Surprise of the evening was the unveiling of... the original Better Ole cartoon. A top of the art collector's item and a masterpiece of BB: the most famous cartoon of WWI.

Valmai with original Better Ole cartoon

If you like the work of Bruce Bairnsfather, then follow this tips:

1. learn more about BB on our blog or on Mark Warby's  BB website

2. like The Bruce Bairnsfather Society on Facebook (you can even join in)

3. fill in the petition to give Bruce Bairnsfather the recognition he deserves for his immeasurable contribution to boosting morale during WW1. The petition has been started by Tonie and Valmai Holt, who are proposing that a leading member of the Government should make a statement in the House that Bairnsfather's contribution during the war should be retrospectively recognised.

before the lecture, I took this picture at Prowse Point cemetary

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