Beecroft Art Gallery, Southend

We were able to visit the free Beecroft Gallery in December 2015 in it’s new home in the old central library. The library has now moved on to The Forum . It was a return trip for me – the last time I visited the building was when it was still the library, in about 1984. I remembered it quite well, so it was strange to see it cleared of books, shelves, desks and computers and instead filled with art.

The Beecroft houses a very impressive collection of art work, many local authorities have very large art collections that are’t on display so it’s good to see that Southend are still keen to have theirs on view to the public.

There’s an opportunity to get close to a painting by John Constable as On the Stour is now on permenant display in the gallery

We were particularly taken by some maritime paintings by a Neville Sotheby Pitcher, not an artist we were familiar with. His ‘Convoy Assembling off Southend Pier’ was quite breathtaking (click here to see it on the BBC website).

Along one wall is a long mural of Leigh on Sea which we particularly liked – we spent some time trying to spot places that we had visited. it appears to be a work in progress.

There’s also a programme of temporary exhibitions. When we were there it was an exhibition of evening clothes and included a dress worn by Victoria Beckham when she was very young. To be honest to me it looked like a “nightie” you’d buy off the market!

On the trip we also visited Prittlewell Priory, Southchurch Hall and Southend Central Museum