Interested in volunteering at Valentines Mansion?

Do you have a love of history and meeting new people? At Valentines Mansion, we’re looking for friendly, enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our team of volunteers.

Valentines Mansion is open to the public every Sunday and Monday with free entry, giving them the chance to explore and enjoy over 320 years of fascinating history. Our volunteers are an integral part of Valentines, and help run the house on opens days . From meeting and greeting our visitors, to stewarding furnished rooms and exhibitions and getting involved with our events, there is lots to keep our volunteers interested.

Valentines Mansion Reception Area
Valentines Mansion Reception

There is also the opportunity, should you wish, to enhance your knowledge of the house and become a tour guide, taking small groups of visitors on a journey through the history of Valentines Mansion – including its previous residents, its various uses, the changes in its architecture through the years, through to present day and the restoration of the building.

“It’s always a delight to escape everyday pressures to volunteer in the peaceful and beautiful surroundings of Valentines Mansion, meeting and chatting to visitors.  A day volunteering almost passes too quickly but always leaves me with more special memories and knowledge.  We’re a friendly and supportive bunch so we look forward to welcoming more members to the team!” Diana, Valentines Mansion Volunteer

The Dry Garden at Valentines Mansion

Volunteers are required for Sundays & Mondays between 10.30am-4pm, if you are interested, please email hiringvalentines@visionrcl.org.uk or call us on 020 8708 8100.

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Music at the Mansion This Weekend

Visitors to Valentines Mansion on Sunday 18 July will be treated to a day of live music performed in and around the Mansion.  Organised by the Friends of Valentines Mansion, this event will bring together a variety of performers to entertain our guests, including a jazz quintet and film classics on the piano.  Free to attend and suitable for all ages, the “Special Sunday” will be open between 11am and 3pm.

Performers

Joanna Zenghui Qiu

Joanna is a versatile Chinese musician with over 30 years’ experience, including the Beijing Opera, Chinese classical and folk music and she plays over ten different Chinese instruments.  A graduate of the China National Opera College, she performed in the National Beijing Opera Company for ten years.  In Britain, Joanna has performed and directed music in many concerts, festivals and theatre productions (including Wild Swans, Young Vic, 2012). She has led numerous educational courses (including at SOAS) and workshops. And is also the director of the UK Chinese Opera Association.

Joanna Zenghui Qiu

Josh Kemp

Bring a picnic to the South Lawn to listen to a superb Jazz Quintet featuring leading Saxophonist and Composer Josh Kemp, a regular at jazz clubs/festivals around UK, at Ronnie Scott’s & the London Jazz Festival, London’s Savoy and Dorchester Hotels.  A saxophonist with a gift for melody, known for his lyrical improvising style, whether playing bluesy standards rooted in the tradition or original pieces in a contemporary style, you can expect high-energy swing with an enjoyable and relaxed groove. 

Josh Kemp

Jason Rose

Jason Rose, resident artist at the Mansion, will be tinkling the ivories playing film music. Jason has been known to play requests!

Valentine Singers

Valentine Singers has gained a reputation, both locally and further afield, for high quality performances with a friendly atmosphere, supported by Redbridge Vision and the Arts Council.

They usually give at least four main concerts a year as well as singing at various events in the local community. They have also toured in England and abroad: Ghent (2012), Oxford and Dorchester (2013), Honfleur (2014), Norfolk (2015), Edinburgh where they gave three concerts in the Festival Fringe (2016) and Madrid and Avila in 2018.

Timings

11am:           Joanna Zenghui Qiu

12pm-2pm:   Lunchtime Jazz on the South Lawn with Josh Kemp

12.45:           Joanna Zenghui Qiu

2pm:             Jason Rose with Film Classics

2.30pm:        Valentines Singers Choral Music

Limited seating will be available for the outdoor performances, but feel free to being a picnic blanket.

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Mudlarked Discoveries Transformed Into Exhibition Pieces

Our studio artists put their time to great use during the winter lockdowns, creating artwork which is now on display for all to see in our Gallery.  Showcasing works by five of the local makers, the exhibition will run until the 19th of July, and includes paintings, ceramics, eco-prints and more. 

Motivated by the feeling of impending uncertainty that came with the winter lockdown, studio artist Lisa Atkin set to work creating something that would give her strength and courage to get her through the coming months.    

I could feel a sense of doom in the air just before Winter Solstice, and felt the need to make a wearable piece of art that connected me with the land, with my ancestors and the energies of strength and protection, to guide me through the unknowable future.”

Bringing together items mudlarked from various locations including the Thames, Mersea, Malta and Spain, Lisa created her Shamanic “Spirit Armour” Pectoral Shield.  Each of the elements used has its benefits for Lisa – the hand worked rusted iron and centuries old bones from the Thames and the large seeds gathered from a Neolithic site in Malta are all imbued with strength, protection and ancestral energy, the Oyster shell from Mersea in Essex carries flexibility, creativity and strength, and the dyed Esparto Grass from Spain carries flexibility, creativity and strength. “All these elements weaved together created a spell, and produced a surprisingly comfortable wearable piece of art” comments Lisa.

Shamanic “Spirit Armour” Pectoral Shield made by Lisa Atkin
Mudlarked Discoveries

Mudlarking, the process of scavenging in river mud for items of value, is a favourite pastime of Lisa, and she knows exactly where to go for a good find.  “I usually like to walk from St Paul’s Station and by Tate Gallery, there are lots of bones there, and teeth, and always pipe stems. The rusted iron comes from further along the River, by Rotherhithe which used to be a massive hub of ship building and ship breaking activity hundreds of years ago”

Mudlarking Site
Shamanic “Spirit Armour” Pectoral Shield worn by Lisa Atkin

Come and see how Lisa has brought together these fascinating finds into striking artwork on display in our Gallery*.  The exhibition is open to all every Sunday and Monday, 10.30am-4pm, free entry.

Lisa’s items will not be on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 June, but visitors can view photographs of the items on these dates.

Are you interested in hiring our Gallery for your exhibition? Get in touch by emailing hiringvalentines@visionrcl.org,.uk.

Hire Valentines Mansion

Valentines Mansion is a beautiful venue for weddings, receptions, parties, business events and more. Find out more about hiring Valentines Mansion for your event.

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Studio Artist Amanda Seljubac Gets Experimental Over Lockdown

Our current exhibition, Art in Lockdown, features a variety of pieces created by our studio artists during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

For Amanda Seljubac, it was a time to try something new, something she hadn’t found the opportunity to experiment with before – the lockdown gave her the perfect chance to try her hand at eco-printing.  Going back to her fashion design roots, Amanda had always been interested in the process of printing, but rather than the screen printing she had been used to in the past, she decided to delve into this environmentally friendly alternative.

The process of eco-printing involves using the natural juices and tannins present in leaves and flowers to create prints on to paper and other fabrics.  After gathering foliage, petals and even onion skins from her garden, Amanda laid them on to a strip of eco-paper, which was then rolled round an old tin can, and held in place with some wool.  A mordant, typically an oxide, is then used to imprint the natural dyes on to a material, in this case the eco-paper.  For her experiment, Amanda instead decided to use an old rusty chain found in the back of her garden to help transfer the colours from the plants.  The chain was placed in water, followed by the tin can on top, and the whole thing was boiled for two hours, allowed to cool and then unwrapped to reveal the fascinating results. To enhance the patterns, a fine liner was used to outline the lines, creating this fantastic piece of art.

“I’m so pleased with how this came out!  I’ll definitely be trying this again, but next time, I think I’ll use some fabric and try out other mordants and foliage”

Come and see the impressive artwork, on display in our Gallery until the 19th July (open every Sunday and Monday, 10.30am-4pm, with free entry.)

Amanda will also be present in the Gallery for ‘Meet The Artist’ sessions on Mondays 21 June and 12 July – some along to find out more about this interesting technique from the artist herself.

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Valentines Mansion Artists Exhibit Lockdown Creations

Valentines Mansion re-opened to the public after the winter closure with a new exhibition in the Mansions’ newly refurbished Gallery.  Showcasing work created during the pandemic by five of the studio artists, the free art show features ceramics, eco-prints, basketry and more.

Art Exhibition at

Artist Jason Rose, whose love of painting is evident from his striking pieces, felt inspired during the lockdowns to try something new.  He swapped his paintbrushes for pens and started work on his first book.  The non-fiction personal development guide, entitled ‘The Human Tree’ was born from a visit to Somerset last summer during which Jason read an insightful book about the secret life of trees and how they communicate through vast underground networks.  Fascinated by this discovery, Jason felt inspired to create his own mindfulness guide to teach others about how much we can all learn from trees.  As expected, the paintbrushes had to make an appearance somewhere, and the book will include numerous colourful illustrations, and a select few can be viewed in advance of the completion of the book by visitors to the Mansion.  Visitors will have the chance to meet with Jason in the Gallery on Sundays 13 and 27 June, as well as Sundays 12 and 18 July.   

Amanda Seljubac, who specialises in pottery, stone carving, stained glass and fashion design, decided to go back to her roots and delve into the art of printing.  But rather than the screen printing she has been used to in the past, she used her time in lockdown to dabble in the process of eco-printing.    After gathering leaves from her garden, Amanda used environmentally friendly techniques to imprint the foliage on to eco-friendly paper and visitors can enjoy the impressive results of her work in The Gallery. Amanda will also host ‘Meet The Artist’ sessions in the Gallery on Monday 31 May, Monday 21 June and Monday 12 July where she’ll be happy to speak with visitors, chat about her work and inspirations and explain in more detail the fascinating process behind her eco-printing.

Other pieces include basketry by Lisa Atkin, ceramics by Louise Moore and a series of woodcut prints by Julian Walker. 

Matters of Concern by Julian Walker

Valentines Mansion invites applications from artists interested in exhibiting their work in The Gallery.  Get in touch with the Mansion Manager to discuss and for full details by emailing hiringvalentines@visionrcl.org.uk

Exhibition open every Sunday & Monday, ends Monday 19 July.

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OH, YOU BEAUTIFUL DOLLS, YOU GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL DOLLS! An Exciting New Exhibition at Valentines Mansion

Thanks to an extremely generous donation, from Monday 17 May, the Mansion will be hosting an exhibition of dolls from around the world, dolls dressed in regional and national costumes. In modern times such dolls have been mass-produced as commercial souvenirs for the tourist market.  However, this exhibition is much more than that. 

Angela Ryder, a long-term resident of Woodford Green, has spent many years amassing an amazing collection.  It contains very many pieces pre-dating the commercial era:  there are hand-made examples of folk-art, lovingly crafted by a mother for a child and then passed on to future generations; there are examples of intricate hand-embroidered regional dresses; some dolls with faces painted on shaped stones; head-dresses delicately re-creating specific national, cultural styles.  This is not merely a display of tourist souvenirs: this is folk-history, authentic folk craftsmanship, with so much for us to admire and to learn.

Angela’s collection – astonishing and possibly unique –  contains many, many hundreds, indeed well over a thousand items.  There are far too many to create a single exhibition, so we plan to rotate the display every few months, specialising each time on certain areas of the world.  The first of these displays will illustrate the dolls, dresses, customs, local history and styles of the Eastern European countries.

The exhibition is free to attend, and is open every Sunday & Monday 10.30am-4pm.

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An Important Update from Valentines Mansion & Gardens

Following the new restrictions announced over the weekend, Valentines Mansion will be closed, after our last public open day on Monday 2 November, until further notice. The situation will be reviewed as and when we receive further updates from the Government.

As per the new guidelines, marriage ceremonies will unfortunately not be permitted. If you have a ceremony booked at the Mansion, we will be in touch individually.

During this time, there will be no public events at the Mansion and if you have booked on to one of our festive workshops, you will be emailed separately and refunded in full.

Our outdoor space is vast and will remain open. Please continue to enjoy our beautiful gardens and park, but remember to maintain social distancing and keep safe.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will update you as and when necessary.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Valentines Mansion soon and thank you all for your support and visits over the last couple of months. Until then, stay safe and take care.

The Valentines Mansion & Gardens Team

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Try Your Hand at Fused Glass at Valentines Mansion

There couldn’t be a better time for the return of our fabulous fused glass workshops! The perfect way to escape and make time for yourself, the workshops are sure to revitalise you and get those creative juices flowing.

The small and personal classes are taught by one of our studio artists, Amanda Seljubac, who, during the 3-hour workshop will share her wealth of knowledge and provide excellent guidance in this popular session.

Having specialised in the art of stained glass over 20 years ago, and with many commissions under her belt, Amanda has been practising fused glass for around 15 years. Drawn by the possibility of endless designs and the magic that happens in the kiln, Amanda has a special passion for this particular craft. “You never really know exactly how each piece is going to turn out – each one fuses uniquely and I love that surprise when I open up the kiln!.”

This particular class has a festive twist to get you in the mood for seasonal celebrations! You’ll create a fabulously stylish glass coaster or hanging wall plaque in your Christmas design. You can rest assured that we’ve worked hard to make these workshops Covid safe and secure – participants will be socially distanced and each will be provided with their own kit of supplies to use during the class.

Glass & Tools

A variety of specialist books will be on hand for inspirations on techniques, as will some of Amanda’s previously made works of art.

Tickets for this workshop sell out fast! It’s been a firm favourite at Valentines Mansion for many years, with participants returning a number of times to give it another go. This time, we’ve got two dates for you to choose from, and both include all materials and supplies, all you need to bring is yourself! Your creations will be fired in the kiln after the workshop and will be ready to collect within a week.

Festive Fused Glass, Sundays 22 November and 5 December, 11am to 2pm, £49 per person, includes all materials. Suitable for adults. To book your tickets, visit https://bit.ly/2T80Oou.

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The Perfect Choice of Venue

Over the past few weeks, Valentines Mansion has been witness to many, many ceremonies. The Drawing Room, Morning Room and Holcombe Room have welcomed numerous couples saying ‘I Do’ and creating their own piece of history within our walls.

With the current restrictions on numbers, Valentines Mansion is more ideal than ever. Our intimate rooms provide the perfect backdrop for wedding parties of between 2 and 13.

Our Drawing Room on the 1st floor is a lovely space for small ceremonies. Big enough to ensure a safe and socially distanced get together, but small enough for a cosy and intimate atmosphere. This bright and spacious room also includes a gorgeous balcony, perfect for photographs.

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room Balcony

Stunning photograph by The Drawing Room Balcony

Look out on to the beautiful historic gardens and parkland from the Morning Room window as you take your vows. Situated on the ground floor, the Morning Room is a beautiful room for up to 13 people and also features an ornate fireplace.

Couples wishing to keep it really small and wanting to marry in the presence of just four guests are treated to the Holcombe Room, a smart and stylish space on the ground floor.  The extravagant fireplace adds charm and character, and the French Doors open on to an outdoor terrace overlooking the green and lush Valentines Park.  

View from Holcombe Room Terrace

Ceremony prices start at just £280 for an hour and a half, which includes time for plenty of photographs.  

If you are interested in hiring Valentines Mansion for your ceremony, please call us on 020 8708 8100, email hiringvalentines@viionrcl.org.uk or visit our web site www.valentinesmansion.com.

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New Exhibition Opening at Valentines Mansion

There couldn’t be a more perfect time for the start of the new exhibition at Valentines Mansion in Ilford, Essex. Centred around the environmental crisis and endangered species of plants, animals and humans, artist Jason Rose has created a collection of artwork highlighting the interconnections between these groups and the planet we all share.

To help symbolise his points, Jason has cleverly used a combination of sand, compost and earth to create many of his impressive works of art.

“I have worked with these particular materials to depict the connections between all life on earth, to show how every species is fundamentally connected to each other, and the environment we live in. What we do to the planet and to other species we also do to ourselves.”

The exhibition, which opens to the public on Monday 28 September, will feature six large pieces, including an elephant made entirely out of natural materials. “I did lots of research on endangered animals and was shocked to see just how many species are on the endangered and critically endangered list, and how much of this is due to hunting, deforestation, climate change and pollution” comments Jason.

Other works also include magnificent portrayals of tigers, koalas and birds, all created in a way which celebrates the links between all life on earth.

Inspired by vivid dreams and visits to rural areas of Italy during which he had time to meditate and connect with nature, Jason feels very strongly about this particular issue. “The developed world is slowly realising that, as clever and advanced as we are as a species, we’ll always be totally dependent on and connected to the environment, in a physical and spiritual sense. Our mistaken belief that we are separate from the natural world, and somehow need to dominate it, has put hundreds of species on the endangered list.”

‘Endangered’ will take place in The Gallery at Valentines Mansion, on Mondays & Sundays between the 28 September and 2 November, with free entry.

The individual pieces will be available to buy and prints will also be on sale.

http://www.valentinesmansion.com

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