I’m visiting Portishead today… here is what I wrote on my last trip:
Today we headed north to Portishead… No, we weren’t going to see the Bristol band formed in 1991; they named themselves after the town, and it’s the town we went to on the hunt for some art. Portishead is a port at the head of the river, as you might guess, although it’s no longer a port but has a magnificent marina with some very expensive yachts!! From earliest times people have lived here, ideal for fishing, seashore foraging and was an industrial site in neolithic times for flint knapping and polishing! Newcomers arrived and settled, other pre-Roman tribes, the Romans, the Danes, the Normans… it has always been a favourite place to settle and live. Portishead had over the years, mills, two power stations, docks (closed in 1992), so it was a bustling and busy place. It seemed to have a bit of a slump and now it’s perked up again and is a very interesting and pleasant place to visit.
We’ve been to Portishead over the years, but it’s the sort of place which keeps its treasures out-of-the-way; it was only by chance, and thanks to the art trail that we found old Courthouse Farm:
Next to the fine St Peter’s Parish Church with its traditional North Somerset tower lies Courthouse Farm, which has its origins in the Tudor period and was once the manor house for this part of Portishead. It is a strikingly beautiful building together with its brick and stone tower…
Read more here: http://www.gordanosociety.org.uk/portishead-history.html
We planned our route so we went on a circular tour and didn’t double back on our selves, and we started at Price and Pryce, Ian Price and Lois Pryce; unfortunately their gallery wasn’t open today – but very fortunately Ian saw us and kindly let us in so we could admire the work on display. There were some stunning paintings, prints and cards… sadly beyond our reach, but both artists are so talented, I really recommend you look at their sites:
Ian very kindly let us access the Black Nore lighthouse, which we will visit again and no doubt I will write about later!
We moved on to meet Hilary Kington and wander round her lovely home admiring her drawings and paintings; fortunately she wasn’t busy when we visited so we had a great opportunity to chat to her, and she told us about her work; she likes to rise early and wander out onto the salt marshes to capture the plants and wildlife there. We loved her work, so vivid and exciting! I was really interested (being a writer) in the little notes she jotted by some of her work, explaining what she had done and how, and little odd things she had noticed while she was out down by the sea.
We popped into a couple of other studios and galleries, and then had a rather nice lunch, looking out over the Bristol Channel. Our last visit of the day was an exhibition by several artists, glass workers and ceramicists in St Peter’s Church. I’m not a Christian but I love churches, and look forward to revisiting because it is a Norman built in 1320, but there was a much older church on the site before. it was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries in the perpendicular Gothic style and fortunately it was given a protected status when it was made a Grade I listed building. Just beside it is Courthouse Farm I mentioned above.
We really liked a lot of the work on display here, from a group who call themselves ‘St Peter’s Pots and More’, including work by Mary March, Kate Collier, Hazel Gill, Stephen Gill and Terri Allen and these artist who you can visit:,
Carina Roberts – https://www.facebook.com/CarinaRobertsIllustration
Rob Donachie – http://www.robdonachie.co.uk/
Olwyn KW – http://www.rtbear.co.uk/
Liane Stevenson http://lianestevenson.theartistsweb.co.uk/