Moravian Messenger February 2018
P. 1

JANUARY 2018
messenger
moravian
Mary Gillick (née Tutin) in Chelsea
The Fetter Lane Moravian Congregation that meets at the Moravian Close, Chelsea has always had a keen interest in the life of the sculptor Mary Gillick who, with her husband lived in the Close for many years. Last year a project by the Congregation to restore the oak and stone bench and sculptures that she and her husband had created honouring Sir Thomas More was completed. Coincidentally the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds held an exhibition about her work from September 2017 to January 2018. We asked Ian Foster, a local historian in Chelsea to tell us more about Mary, her time at Moravian Close and her work.
Mary Gaskell Tutin first came to London around 1902 to further her art education after achieving first class honours in all art subjects, including sculpture, at the Nottingham School of Art at the close of the 19th century. Mary had secured a place at the prestigious Royal College of Art in Kensington and came to live with her brother Frank, who had embarked on a promising career as a biochemist and had earlier come to live in Kew close to the Royal Botanic Gardens. While at Nottingham, Mary had formed a close relationship with a fellow student, Ernest Gillick, who had also made the journey to London to study at the RCA and was living in Chelsea soon after the turn of the century.
Mary and Ernest announced their engagement in 1903 and they were married at Richmond Free Church on 24th August 1905. Ernest was a rising star in the art world and was awarded a travelling scholarship in 1902, which brought the couple to Paris and Rome. In 1904, Ernest was commissioned to create a medal to commemorate the successful Scott expedition to the Antarctic. Commissions to create statues for the newly built Victoria and Albert Museum
and a commemorative water feature in Bury St Edmunds brought public recognition for Ernest. The couple often collaborated on projects and despite Ernest's moderate success, they lived simply and joined with other artists in leasing a communal artists' studio in Chelsea close to the River Thames.
In 1911, Mary exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. Her designs for a portrait medal of former Prime Minister Robert Arthur Talbot, and a bas-relief portrait of barrister Douglas Illingworth, were an early indication of her talent. Ernest continued in his rise to fame and after he suffered a bout of ill health, the couple were informed by a friend that there was a nearby property available for lease. Moravian Close at 381 Kings Road, Chelsea, had been vacant for a number of years and was in need of attention. The tranquil calm of the almost two acre property offered the Gillicks an ideal creative environment and they entered into a 50 year lease arrangement with the Moravian Church at the end of 1913. Soon after their arrival, the Gillicks began the task of converting Moravian Close into a comfortable home. They busied themselves
continued on page 16
Mary Gillick working on the portrait of Sir John Crosby © The Estate of Ernest and Mary Gillick
More than number 23
(page 15)
23
All God's creation is very good!
(page 17)
What I learnt:
The Irish Council of Church (ICC) Delegation to the EU Parliament and Commission
(page 18)
Christingle at Fetter Lane
(page 21)
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