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From 13 – 17th November 2023, Gurr Johns (16 Pall Mall) will hold an exhibition of new artworks produced this summer by 20 artists following their visit to Lake Como in April. The project was organised by Tim Guinness and hosted by the English community on the lake who support the English Church in Cadenabbia.


Tim Guinness’ idea to organise a 4-day visit to Lake Como was prompted after he became aware that funding was badly needed by the English Church and that the English Church in Venice had done something similar in 2006. By chance, Guinness was already acquainted with the Vicar in Venice whilst Tim Llewellyn, an Old Master expert who had played a key role, had been long-standing friend from university days.

Guinness himself has family connections to Lake Como, dating back to 1898 when its train connections to London made it an attractive holiday destination (this was before cars!).

The artists include several Royal Academicians and the ex-President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, as well as talented younger artists. The group was put together by Guinness from various sources, with help and introductions from Tim Llewellyn. Guinness wanted a mix of old and young talent who would enjoy each others’ company and be inspired by the trip. The artists had the opportunity to see and experience different aspects of the lake in all its moods. They were taken to see villas, gardens, mountain rifugios, churches, and lakeside towns, and given talks and music whilst staying at the Villa La Collina . The work this inspired is now being exhibited and sold to raise funds for restoration works at the beautiful lakeside Anglican Church of the Ascension.

The Landscape Museum in Tremezzina, just along the lakefront from Cadenabbia, hosted a lecture by Charles Saumarez-Smith (ex Director of the Royal Academy) on day one of the visit. Director Marco Leoni said : “The Landscape Museum is excited to be involved with a project which will inspire a new generation of international artists and to partner an organisation, the Anglican Church of the Ascension, which has been serving our international visitors and residents for over 130 years”.

Built in 1891, the Church of the Ascension is the only completed work of prize-winning local architect, Giuseppe Brentano, who died aged 27. The landmark building next to the Cadenabbia ferry has a stunning interior and is a popular wedding and concert venue. It is maintained by a small yet committed community in order to offer English-speaking worship to the many international visitors to the lake. The artists enjoyed its beauty during a public concert by the Bilacus male voice choir on Monday 24th April at 6.30pm.

Participating artists: Alice Boggis-Rolfe, Caroline Bromley-Gardner, Hugh Buchanan, Nancy Cadogan, Richard Foster PPRP, Timothy Hyman, Irma Kennaway, Cathryn Kuhfeld SWE CAS, Peter Kuhfeld RP NEAC CAS, Lester Korzilius, Chris Levine, Emma Levine, Ray McInnes, Jonathan Miles, Nina Murdoch, Abigail Norris, Chris Orr MBE RA, Sarah Quill, Ania Sabet, John Wonnacott CBE RP