All about Gin – Myth and legend

The first confirmed date for the production of gin is the early 17th century in Holland, although claims have been made that it was produced prior to this in Italy. In Holland it was produced as a medicine and sold in chemist shops to treat stomach complaints, gout and gallstones.

Dutch Courage

English troops fighting alongside the Dutch in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) noticed that the Dutch soldiers were extremely courageous in battle. This bravery was attributed to the calming effects of the medicinal elixir known as gin, small bottles of which where carried by Dutch troops hanging from their belts. English troops soon followed their Dutch counterparts example.

Hot Gin and Gingerbread

Whenever the weather turned cold in 18th Century London, crowds would gather to explore the stalls and tents selling hot gin and gingerbread that popped up along the frozen River Thames, at what became known as the London Frost Fairs.

The Gin Craze and Mothers Ruin

Historians attribute gin as being England’s first drug craze and an early harbinger of binge drinking! Its consumption was particularly marked in women, thus its various female nicknames including Mothers Ruin, which is said to describe the disastrous effects on the family as a consequence of mothers drunk on gin.

Hogarth depicted the perceived evils of gin drinking in his etching and engraving ‘Gin Lane’, published as a pair with ‘Beer Street’ in 1751. The images were designed to advocate the merits of beer drinking, compared to the evils of gin drinking. Thus ‘Beer Street’ depicts happy and healthy residents going about their daily lives, whereas ‘Gin Lane’ shows shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide.

The Gin Riots

The Gin Act was introduced in London in 1736, in an attempt to tackle the burgeoning problem of alcohol abuse by the poor, widely attributed to gin consumption. The Gin Act made gin prohibitively expensive. A licence to retail gin cost £50 and duty was raised fivefold to £1 per gallon with the smallest quantity you could buy being two gallons. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act as they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right. Riots broke out and the law was widely and openly flouted, with gin production going underground and consumption continuing to rise.

The Gin Act was finally repealed in 1742 as unenforceable and a new policy, which distillers helped to draft was introduced.

The Birth of the Gin and Tonic

As the British Crown took over the governance of India, British immigrants began to struggle with the ravages of malaria. A local cure came from the bark of the cinchona or ‘fever’ tree, which contained the notoriously bitter quinine. To make it more palatable, sugar, lime, ice and gin were added – and the G&T was born.

Related Articles:

www.pureartsgroup.co.uk for further information and to download the 2016-2017 artist directory

Published in Aspect County April 2017 edition

“The Gin and Tonic has saved more Englishman’s lives, and minds than all the doctors in the Empire” Winston Churchill

2016 was officially the year of gin. According to figures released by the Wine and Spirit Association, gin sales reached an impressive £1 billion, with gin bought in shops increasing by 13 per cent and in licensed premises by 19 per cent. Overall, it’s thought that around 40 million bottles of gin were bought in 2016 – 7 million more than in 2012.

Reflecting this trend more and unusual Gin dens are popping up across the capital virtually on a daily basis! Here is a selection of some of our favourites:

 214 Bermondsey

Under Antico restaurant in Bermondsey you’ll find this secret gin bar where the G&Ts are taken so seriously, they’ve insisted on making their own homemade tonic, (created with specially imported quinine that allows the delicate gin botanicals to sing out). Test your taste buds with a blind gin flight of three different G&Ts. Try and make it down to a Sunday Social, with a weekly changing menu of gin tipples from £5 a pop.

214 Bermondsey, 214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

http://www.214-bermondsey.co.uk

Mr. Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Covent Garden

Head up the stairs at Mr. Fogg’s rowdy beer tavern and you’ll find this cosy old-world gin haven with fancy sofas, and one hell of a gin collection – there are over 315 bottles. You can also book onto a gin master class where you’ll get a full history of the good stuff while you sample a diverse range of gins from across the globe.

1 New Row, WC2N 4EA

https://mr-foggs.com/gin-parlour/

The London Gin Club, Soho

This place is unassuming from the outside (it looks just like a standard London pub), but walk inside and you enter a 1930’s gin shrine. It doesn’t look like it’s changed since it opened over 80 years ago. There are 270 different bottles behind the bar, and cocktail recipes dating back to the 1800s. Every effort goes into making sure you have the optimum gin drinking experience, served with large cracked ice so your drink won’t dilute. The tonics, and even the garnish, are carefully thought out to match perfectly with your gin of choice.

 The Star, 22 Great Chapel Street, W1F 8FR

https://thelondonginclub.com

 Duke’s Bar

 

Although not a dedicated gin bar, Duke’s Bar has a special place in the history of gin. It was the place where James Bond creator Ian Fleming first conjured up the Vesper Martini cocktail “shaken not stirred”, of course. Fleming was a regular here, and seemingly little has changed in this cosy bar with the gin Martinis still famous the world over.

35 St. James’s Place, London SW1A 1NY

https://www.dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar/

East London Liquor Company

Choose from three different gins distilled on site at this Bow bar housed in a former glue factory, or sample gin cocktails such as Red Snapper, Negroni or gin sours. With industrial features and a view of the stills, you’ll feel at the heart of the production process at East London Liquor Company – you can get an even better idea of how it’s made with the 90-minute Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting.

Unit GF1, Bow Wharf, 221 Grove Road, London, E3 5SN

http://eastlondonliquorcompany.com/ourstory.html

Sipsmith Distillery Tour

Discover the story behind the pioneers of London’s recent gin resurgence. Sipsmith became the first company to be granted a warrant to distil gin in London for 189 years when, in 2009, its distillery opened in Chiswick. Join one of the evening Sipsmith tours or book on the Gin Extravaganza to also visit one of London’s last remaining gin palaces for a three-course meal featuring gin-themed botanicals such as juniper and citrus.

Sipsmith recently also hosted hot Gin on the roof at Firmdale hotels Hamyard, which was a sell-out. Lets hope they do it again soon!

The Distillery, 83 Cranbrook Road, Chiswick, London W4 2LJ

https://sipsmith.com/tours/

The Distillery

The Distillery is a four-storey boutique hotel, dedicated entirely to the drinking of gin. The brainchild of the Portobello Road Gin company, in addition to the three guest rooms (which, naturally, are well-stocked with the nation’s new favourite drink), it also features a working distillery, two bars, a gin museum, an off-licence and a gin-making experience entitled ‘The Ginstitute”. It’s easy to see why its founders refer to it as a ‘gin palace’!

186 Portobello Road
London
W11 1LA

http://www.the-distillery.london

For our Sussex readers who now fancy a tipple, don’t fret the county has its fare share of award winning distilleries as well.

Blackdown Distillery, West Sussex

Nestled in the foothills of Blackdown Hill, set amidst sprawling ancient woodland near where Lord Alfred Tennyson once lived; writer of such epic works as Charge of the Light Brigade, is the innovative Blackdown Distillery.

Producing a luxurious collection of distinctive award-winning spirits, handcrafted in small batches in the oldest distillery in Sussex, Blackdown pride themselves on using only natural botanicals, focusing on quality and provenance.

They also use only British suppliers for their ingredients and packaging, ensuring their products are truly British.

Try before you buy!

Blackdown cellar door is open throughout the year. Check the website for opening hours. They also offer “click and collect”!

http://www.blackdowncellar.co.uk

The Gin Tub (and Rum Cage!), 16 Church Road, Hove BH3 2FL

The Gin Tub in Hove has made headlines for filling the insides of its crimson and bare-brick walls with silver foil and it’s ceiling in copper wire to create a faraday cage, which blocks all mobile signal. The novelty doesn’t stop there. Each table is fitted with a faux rotary dial phone, which customers use to order from the bar, but also call strangers on other tables. (A landline has been installed, too, in case of an emergency.)

16 Church Road, Hove BN3 2FL

http://thegintub.co.uk

All about Gin – Myth and legend

The first confirmed date for the production of gin is the early 17th century in Holland, although claims have been made that it was produced prior to this in Italy. In Holland it was produced as a medicine and sold in chemist shops to treat stomach complaints, gout and gallstones.

Dutch Courage

English troops fighting alongside the Dutch in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) noticed that the Dutch soldiers were extremely courageous in battle. This bravery was attributed to the calming effects of the medicinal elixir known as gin, small bottles of which where carried by Dutch troops hanging from their belts. English troops soon followed their Dutch counterparts example.

Hot Gin and Gingerbread

Whenever the weather turned cold in 18th Century London, crowds would gather to explore the stalls and tents selling hot gin and gingerbread that popped up along the frozen River Thames, at what became known as the London Frost Fairs.

The Gin Craze and Mothers Ruin

Historians attribute gin as being England’s first drug craze and an early harbinger of binge drinking! Its consumption was particularly marked in women, thus its various female nicknames including Mothers Ruin, which is said to describe the disastrous effects on the family as a consequence of mothers drunk on gin.

Hogarth depicted the perceived evils of gin drinking in his etching and engraving ‘Gin Lane’, published as a pair with ‘Beer Street’ in 1751. The images were designed to advocate the merits of beer drinking, compared to the evils of gin drinking. Thus ‘Beer Street’ depicts happy and healthy residents going about their daily lives, whereas ‘Gin Lane’ shows shocking scenes of infanticide, starvation, madness, decay and suicide.

The Gin Riots

The Gin Act was introduced in London in 1736, in an attempt to tackle the burgeoning problem of alcohol abuse by the poor, widely attributed to gin consumption. The Gin Act made gin prohibitively expensive. A licence to retail gin cost £50 and duty was raised fivefold to £1 per gallon with the smallest quantity you could buy being two gallons. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act as they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right. Riots broke out and the law was widely and openly flouted, with gin production going underground and consumption continuing to rise.

The Gin Act was finally repealed in 1742 as unenforceable and a new policy, which distillers helped to draft was introduced.

The Birth of the Gin and Tonic

As the British Crown took over the governance of India, British immigrants began to struggle with the ravages of malaria. A local cure came from the bark of the cinchona or ‘fever’ tree, which contained the notoriously bitter quinine. To make it more palatable, sugar, lime, ice and gin were added – and the G&T was born.

www.pureartsgroup.co.uk for further information and to download the 2016-2017 artist directory

Published in Aspect County April 2017 edition

Take away the heritage of people and they are easily persuaded. Karl Marx

Culture and heritage are important as they help us connect with others and give meaning to our lives through social values, beliefs, religions and customs. They link us to our past in order to give us a sense of identity, unity and belonging in our present.

We live our lives against a rich backdrop of historic buildings, landscapes and other physical artefacts of the past. But the historic environment is more than just a matter of material remains. It is central to how we see ourselves and to our identity as individuals, communities and as a nation. It is a physical record of what our country is and how it came to be.

Preserving and passing on this rich cultural heritage is therefore central to our sense of self and community and of critical importance to our sense of happiness and wellbeing. One educational establishment that truly understand and embrace the importance of preserving and communicating our culture and heritage is West Dean College near Chichester.

West Dean College is situated on the 6,350 acre West Dean Estate. Located on the south side of Chichester, between the villages of West Dean and Singleton, the estate was the former home of poet and patron of the Surrealists, Edward James, who inherited the estate from his father William Dodge James in the early part of the 20th Century. West Dean is recorded in the Domesday Book as a hunting park and one of the manors of Singleton, which was held for several centuries by the Earls of Arundel and the Dukes of Norfolk. William Dodge James purchased the house, park and gardens from Frederick Bower in 1891, appointing Ernest George and Harold Peto as architects, tasked with making substantial changes to both the exterior and interior of the house.

Founded in 1971, West Dean College is part of the Edward James Foundation and is internationally recognised for teaching heritage conservation and creative arts. Underpinned by the vision of its founder Edward James, who formed one of the largest collections of Surrealist works during his lifetime, the College aims to inspire creativity, champion traditional art and craft practices and advance the care of heritage objects. It is a truly unique place to study, visit or stay; a centre of excellence, creativity and tranquillity.

The Edward James Foundation is a registered charity run by a senior management team led by Chief Executive, Alexander Barron ACA, and supported by Francine Norris BA (Hons) MA FRSA, Director of Education and Ian Graham, Director of Property and Campus Operations.

Speaking recently about the vision and ethos that underpins West Dean, Francine Norris said:

“The things that I think are important and make West Dean distinctive as an art college are to do with the sense of place and the focus on skills. I think both of those things make the experience of people studying here very particular and very different to what they might find if they were to study in the mainstream art education sector at the moment and it is what attracted me to come and work at West Dean myself.

What I have seen over the last 20 years in art and design education, due in part to government policy, is a stripping out of skills training and development, with an emphasis placed instead on conceptual skills often removed from the materiality of actually making work.

This has resulted in frustration amongst some students; disappointed at the lack of practical skills they are learning and unable or disinterested in operating in a more academic environment. What we do here is provide a combination of short and long courses that promote inclusivity and enable access for a wide range of students.

We offer over 700 short courses per year, so students can effectively build their own programme, based on their unique needs and abilities. Our Diploma programmes provide a more structured framework with personal tutoring to support those who want to develop an individual creative practice. While the most advanced courses are our Masters programmes, which provide a rigorous critical and conceptual approach but still underpinned by a commitment to developing material processes and making.

The vision that still shapes West Dean College is that of its founder Edward James. He was a significant patron of the arts during the 1930’s supporting writers, composers and artists from across Europe. As war loomed, he saw first hand the impact of the rise of Nazism on some of his friends and protégés. His concerns at the prospect of losing a generation of the most creative people, with skills and ideas lost and humanity set back, are recorded in a letter he wrote to his friend, the writer Aldous Huxley in 1939, and this is when he first proposes the idea of creating an artistic community at West Dean. This really is the founding document for the College today and continues to influence our approach and ethos.”

To read more about West Dean College: www.westdean.org.uk

The Foundation also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studios.

West Dean Gardens and Estate

West Dean Gardens is one of the best-restored gardens open to the public today. Rich in creative and social heritage its most distinctive features include 13 restored Victorian glasshouses housing orchids, fuchsias, figs, vines, melons and chillies, the award-winning Walled Kitchen Garden of classic Victorian design and a 300 foot-long Edwardian pergola designed by Harold Peto. There is also a circular 2½ mile arboretum walk set in 90 acres of beautiful parkland, offering stunning views of the South Downs and a route passing Edward James’ grave.

West Dean Gardens are open to the public February to December. Access to the Gardens on event days is restricted to those with tickets. This applies to West Dean Arts and Craft Festival and Chilli Fiesta. Dogs that are kept on a short lead are welcome in the Gardens.

West Dean Gardens restaurant and shop are open to the public when the Gardens are open. Generally between 10.30 am – 4pm Monday – Sunday including Bank Holidays.

See website for full details of opening times and entry charges applicable: www.westdean.org.uk/gardens/about/opening-hours-and-admissions

The School of Creative Arts collaborates and holds regular exhibitions of work by major outside artists as well as students and tutors of the College.

Current partner exhibitions

Location: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Dates: 11 February to 28 May 2017

MAD ABOUT SURREALISM – DALÍ, ERNST, MAGRITTE, MIRÓ…

The exhibits come from the collections of British aristocratic poet Edward James (1907-1984), British artist Roland Penrose (1900-1984), British collector Gabrielle Keiller (1908-1995) and German entrepreneurs Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents an unprecedented survey of the Surrealist movement with masterpieces from four famous European collections. The majority of artworks have rarely, or never been exhibited publicly and will disappear behind closed doors again at the end of May 2017.

See website for further details: www.westdean.org.uk/events

Location: Two Temple Place, London

Dates: 28 January to 23 April 2017-02-27

SUSSEX MODERNISM – Retreat and Rebellion

Sussex Modernism: Retreat and Rebellion, examines why radical artists and writers were drawn to the rolling hills, seaside resorts, and quaint villages of Sussex in the first half of the 20th century and how, in the communities they created, artistic innovation ran hand in-hand with political, sexual and domestic experimentation.

The exhibition is curated by Dr Hope Wolf, Lecturer in British Modernist Literature and co-Director of the Centre for Modernist Studies at the University of Sussex.

See website for further details: http://twotempleplace.org/exhibitions/2017-2/

West Dean Tapestry Studio

West Dean Tapestry Studio is one of only two professional tapestry studios in the UK. Since 1976 the Tapestry Studio has worked with contemporary artists and designers to translate their images into woven tapestry. Following completion of 23 tapestries for the Henry Moore Foundation in 1987, the Studio has worked with artists John Piper, Howard Hodgkin, Tracey Emin, Eileen Agar, Martin Creed, Matty Grunberg, Philip Sutton, Bill Jacklin and Adrian Berg.

Current partner event

Location: Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham

Dates: Tuesday 4 April – Saturday 1 July 2017

Artists Meet Their Makers by West Dean Tapestry Studio

This exhibition will shine a light on both artist and Master Weaver with equal intensity, exploring how a dialogue and language is established between both parties. Works, samples and the development of colour palettes on display will include commissions with leading contemporary artists Tracey Emin, Michael Brennand-Wood and Henry Moore and new commissions with Rebecca Salter, RA and Biggs and Collings.

See website for further details: www.westdean.org.uk/events

– Deborah Ravetz –

Deborah is a current residential student at West Dean College studying for an MA in Fine Art.

In her book, The Field Guide to Getting Lost (2003) Rebecca Solnit writes
”To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery” (p.5).

In her work Deborah tries to abandon herself to the discipline of being lost by painting and then over-painting, losing the first image in order to make and find a richer one. For her this is
a practical and a visual way of celebrating the positive outcomes of being in “uncertainty and mystery.” It seems that between her and the painting there is an element that could be called chance, but it could also be called grace.

deborahravetz.org.uk

www.pureartsgroup.co.uk for further information and to download the 2016-2017 artist directory

Published in Aspect County April 2017 edition/ Articulate