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Lighthouse has hosted an extraordinary range of visuals arts ever since it opened as Poole Arts Centre in 1978 – from solo shows by locally based artists and group showings by many of the area’s richly talented clubs and societies, to works by such giants of 20th century British art as Henry Moore, Elizabeth Frink and Peter Blake, right up to last year’s stunning Alive: In the Face of Death show of photographs by Rankin. 

This week, #MondayMemories looks back to May 1980 when the old Seldown Gallery at Poole Arts Centre hosted an exhibition of modern art organised by the renowned art critic Peter Davies whose career began in his native Poole in the late 1970s. 

Among its many highlights was work by Anthony Caro who was invited in 1989 by Poole Arts Council to make the Sea Music sculpture on Poole Quay. He had a holiday cottage in Swanage and took time to visit the exhibition in the Seldown – now the Sherling Studio – and discuss the works on show, including a steel sculpture that was insured for £6,000.  

According to a press report another featured artist, the abstract painter Fred Pollock (pictured) - now widely recognised as one of the finest talents of his generation – sold a painting as a result of the exhibition. 

Peter Davies, who would go on the publish the book ‘Art In Poole and Dorset’ in 1987, praised the facilities as being better than many West End modern art galleries, telling the reporter: “I think the Arts Centres facilities should be used to the maximum and the people of Poole should be proud of the Centre.” 

Photo from the film ‘Fred Pollock: Portrait of an Abstract Artist’ by Ronan Pollock.

Published 11 January 2021