Bell House has had associations with the Dulwich Picture Gallery over a long period and there were even plans to store the DPG paintings at the house during the war to protect them from bombing, although in the end other arrangements were made. Bell House and the Gallery have been part of the Dulwich Estate for many years and the freeholds were owned by the Dulwich Estate from 1767, when Bell House was built, until 1992 when the house was sold to a private owner.
Recently the Dulwich Picture Gallery has been very energetically managed and is in the process or organising a pavilion for the summer of 2017. Bell House supported the planning application for this creative experiment and is enthusiastic about the community involvement that this will bring.
Bell House has another special link with the Gallery as the Deputy Director of the Gallery, Andrew Macdonald, was a boarder at Bell House when it was a junior boarding house for Dulwich College. He has recently revisited and gave a graphic description of what life was like for a young boy sleeping in the dormitories and walking up to the main school for lessons and sports.
The Picture Gallery has recently appointed a new chair of trustees (Prof Evelyn Welch) and a new director - Jennifer Scott who plans to "develop the gallery as the perfect place for people to experience the inspirational potential of art." We hope that Bell House will be able to work with the Picture Gallery to develop an appreciation for art and to provide courses that are not easily available elsewhere. Also, events at Bell House could compliment what the Picture Gallery already does - perhaps concentrating on photography, film and local artists. Indeed Bell House has recently organised an exhibition of local artists with themes of paper and dyslexia as part of the Dulwich Festival.
image courtesy of Dulwich Picture Gallery