The Catherine Moody Archive – Week Four

Over the summer of 2011 two Art History students; Holly Lambeth-Fradgeley and Hannah Fisher will be working with Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery on an archive relating to the late Catherine Moody. Ms Moody, who passed away recently, was a Malvern artist who was long known to the Museum. Holly and Hannah will document their progress as a blog as they get to know both the archive and the artist.

17/8/2011 – Today we managed to work our way though half of a large box of photos and slides. Again they were mainly photos of Victor Moody’s paintings, but there were also more photos of Catherine’s work than we have seen previously. Nearly all the photos are of poor quality, never centred and often blurred, however Hannah and I came up with the idea of cropping some of the better quality photos and creating some sort of collage for the exhibition so that they would go to good use. This box seemed to be relating to the end of her life; her handwriting had become more illegible and photos of group events showed her as an elderly lady. Quite to our surprise we came across a shaky photo of Garston! She must have taken it when he went to visit her to reclaim the rock sample she’d borrowed and used as a doorstop for years! It made us wonder whether, judging by the massive amount of photos in her possessions, she documented every occasion and person she met! And what does that tell us about her as a person?

 Two days earlier Hannah and I visited Diane Jenkins, former secretary of the Malvern Art Club (M.A.C), who had lots of stories to share and items to show us. Diane is extremely dedicated to documenting, preserving and educating others about the great history of this prestigious club and local history in general. I particularly enjoyed seeing her impressive collection of M.A.C exhibition catalogues; the Art Deco designs adorning the covers from the 1920s were beautiful. The visit was very useful, not only did Mrs Jenkins provide us with key dates about Catherine and Victor’s lives, but she gave us further valuable insights into Ms Moody’s character and lifestyle. We found some wonderful quotes in newspaper clippings: “I have always believed that a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, that is how we improve and this exhibition shows that” said Catherine of an M.A.C. exhibition in 1992. And John Ward R.A. said of Catherine: “[she] managed to keep pleasure and happiness in the art school when everyone else had lost it.” We are extremely grateful to Mrs Jenkins for inviting us into her home and helping us with our project, and for our parting gift; a copy of the hymn that Catherine wrote, which was sung at her memorial.

Blog written by Holly Lambeth-Fradgley: currently on a gap year and going to study History of Art and Design (Contemporary Art History) at Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2011.

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One thought on “The Catherine Moody Archive – Week Four

  1. I bought a large number of items from the auction of Miss Moody’s House in 2010. My own house had just burned down and so I attended the auction looking to buy a variety of things, and ended up buying many mixed boxes, which I found contained much of her pottery (she clearly tried her hand at all sorts of crafts as well as painting) as well as sketches, illustrations (for her book, which I later bought a copy of) and some of her father’s canvasses too. I also bought her armoire which she used to store her paintings and materials in, and found it included notes and instructions to a carpenter to repair it (she didn’t ever have the work done). Many of her loose canvasses, pastels and sketches I have now framed and would be happy for the students to look at if they relate to any of the work they found photos of (above)

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