The Spirit of Godshill in wood and words as new book launched

Local painters and potters were among those gathered at the New Forest Heritage Centre recently (2nd October), to celebrate the launch of the memoir of Christopher Charman of Godshill Pottery ‘In the Spirit of Godshill’.

The event, hosted by the Trust’s Chairman The Hon. Mary Montagu-Scott and Centre Manager Giles Gould, enabled the first public viewing since the 1930s of a recent addition to the Collections of the Centre – the New Forest carvings of Christopher’s father Tom Charman.

The carvings, from wood found in the New Forest, are of Forest spirits and fantastic creatures and birds. They were originally shown at the Knox Guild exhibitions in Kingston and later the annual Artist Craftsman shows held in London in the 1920s. Also on display were flints decorated by Tom with unusual figures and faces as well as pottery produced by Christopher, his sister Danae and his wife Kate, who is also an artist.

Christopher Charman’s memoir charts the lives of both his unusual parents and his own rural life, running a small holding in the New Forest, where he also revived the pottery they set up in the 1920s. His mother Margaret was the daughter of famous geologist and founder of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, Ernest Westlake.

Publisher and Editor Sonia Aarons-Green, also of Godshill, recalled on first reading the manuscript:

Chris’s writing was intelligent, moving, detailed and it made me laugh …and at times it made me cry… it shows the importance of recording everything you can.

The book, edited and published by Millersford Press, is now available in the New Forest Heritage Centre’s shop, priced £20.

Photo: The Spirit of Godshill Launch Night


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