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Arts and entertainment in 1066 Country is second to none

Arts & Entertainment in Hastings & 1066 Country

Erich Mendelson's modernist masterpiece, the De La Warr Pavilion, still draws admiring gasps from around the world.

Widely recognised as one of the UK's most important arts venues, its strange seafront geometry is a natural home for the imaginative, the outrageous and the bold…

History of the De la Warr

Jungle Book author Rudyard Kipling is closely associated with a building that's as remarkable in its way as the De La Warr.

The Jacobean house Batemans is where he wrote the 'Just So' stories and, with its Rose Garden and views over the Sussex Weald, it kept him there until his death in 1936.

Lamb House in Rye was the home of American author Henry James from 1898 until 1916 during which time he wrote 'Wings of the Dove' and entertained everybody from HG Wells to Edith Wharton.

Following James' death, author EF Benson took the house over and wrote the 'Mapp and Lucia' novels, taking inspiration from his surroundings.

The house is said to be full of ghosts and throughout 1066 Country there has always been an almost supernatural affinity between artists and places.

Nineteenth-century English painting and Romantic landscape painter JMW Turner created many extraordinary images of Hastings and 1066 Country's most famous sights including Pevensey Bay, Battle Abbey, Hastings Old Town and Brightling Observatory.

More than any other artist, Turner captured the uniquely autumnal light of the region.  A simple walk along Hastings beach, or through the fields of Brightling, Battle or Crowhurst, tell visitors everything they need to know about the man and his inspiration.

Captain Pugwash is revered as one of the greatest television programmes for children ever made and its creator John Ryan lives in Rye.

One of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a frequent visitor to the area.  Captivated by one of his models, Elizabeth Siddall, Rossetti married in St Clements Church, Hastings Old Town in 1860.

Both Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens, enjoyed time in Hastings and 1066 Country but the writer who held the area closest to his heart was undoubtedly Robert Tressell.

Born in Dublin in 1870, Tressell settled in St Leonards in 1901 and wrote the novel 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists', a thinly fictionalised study of life in Hastings that promoted radical socialist ideas.

Beatrix Potter (author of the Tale of Peter Rabbit and other children's classics) had a strong connection to Hastings.  She stayed frequently at 16 Robertson Terrace between 1898 and 1907, spending her winter months by the sea.

British illustrator and stage designer Edward Burra lived out his final years in Rye and the nearby town of Hastings is home to a unique company with a special connection to the theatre - the Shirley Leaf & Petal Company.

Even today, painters and artists flock to Hastings, and the Old Town alone boasts several internationally known figures including Fellows of the Royal Academy.  Hastings, Battle and Rye have their own thriving theatres and galleries just waiting to be discovered by the discerning visitor.

Tags: Arts & Entertainment in Hastings

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