Hello Everyone – trust that you’re all luxuriating in the slightly warmer days, even if they are somewhat few and far between at the moment. Of course, as you’ll now be eagerly anticipating, the changing of the seasons heralds one of my quarterly updates on the state of roadside verges on the route through Sussex that I take on my trips to The Pantiles Arcade.

Not only is it a treat for the mornings to no longer be shrouded in darkness, but there’s now the additional benefit of being able to observe as Spring begins to encroach on the countryside. We’re still a little early for that indistinct, green haze that seeps in to the trees and bushes as they come in to bud – nature does seem to be running a couple of weeks behind schedule – but there are already patches of other colour evident on banks and in hedgerows as the early flowers make their seasonal appearances; it all bodes well for the not too distant future !

As ever, I welcome the opportunity to draw your attention the link between the onset of spring and its influence on artists whose work I particularly admire. I do love the way that you can absolutely ‘share the experience’ of these creatives when it’s possible to match up their works with influences which you can see for yourself. It’s particularly uplifting when the stark branches, frosted ground and cold skies of winter are replaced by blossoms, bracts, buds and warmer hues of spring’s return.

Pinks and greens dominate many of these spring-themed pieces, no more so than in the works of the Daum family, working in north eastern France in the definitive ‘fin de siecle’, around 1900. They produced several pieces of a similar nature, differentiated by the scale at which things were observed. Some vases show broad landscapes – bodies of water, low hills, and trees laden with blossom, whereas others zoom in on individual flowers. Techniques differ subtly between these perspectives, with the close-ups tending to be on entirely flat surfaces where the technical skill of the artist can be best displayed with forensic detail, and the landscapes incorporating relief work to enhance the sense of depth, foreground features being layered over the middle and far distant backgrounds.

Emile Galle and the Tiffany glass studios – contemporaries of Daum – represented the other dominant colour combination which defines spring (at least in the minds of art glass makers) green and yellow. Both often chose to represent narcissi or daffodils, and worked with light to enhance their creations. Tiffany opted for an artificial source to illuminate their signature table lamps, whereas Galle preferred to let natural light interact with his pieces. This gave them an amazing degree of animation; as the sun moves during the day it’s shifting rays illuminate cameo glass pieces from changing angles, with different colours becoming more or less prominent. It’s a feature which you learn to appreciate having owned a piece for some time, rather than being able to pick up on it during your initial encounter under spotlights, on display with its vendor – more of an unexpected pleasure than a surprise.

The third in the triumvirate of art glass masters, the Legras company, were perhaps the more prolific users of enamelling to accentuate their pieces, and they were therefore better placed to replicate more strident colours. Ruby red cherry blossom on a pale crimson background was the basis for a whole series of pieces entitled ‘Rubis’ and, right now, they are the pieces which resonate the most, as my ‘final approach’ to the Pantiles Arcade is currently punctuated by a glorious display of blossom toward the bottom of Frant Road, just a few yards away from the entrance to my emporium.