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Else Schreiner died at age ninety-six on 2nd August this year. At the request of her family, a celebration of her life was held at the Tatham Art Gallery.

Else will be remembered in the public domain for her energetic socio-political and gender activism. Her interest in the arts generally, and the visual arts in particular, was a more private indulgence she shared with her husband Deneys. They collected art throughout their life together, and Else continued collecting after Deneys’ death in 2008. She described their art collecting in an interview of 2003:

‘There were no decisive factors in our collecting habits apart from fun. Did it make us laugh, was it beautiful, and could we afford it? So here it is scattered throughout the house, portraits, etchings, watercolours, drawings, sculptures, ceramic and weavings. A lot of stuff, gifts rugs, maps and porcelain came to us from our families. I think the gross diversity of its parts gives meaning and identity to the collection. Each piece has a story. But it wasn’t planned!’

Importantly, the art works were respected but not objects of veneration. The wooden sculptures were often playmates of children and grandchildren.

Many of these sculptures were made by KwaZulu-Natal artist, Vuminkosi Zulu, with whom Deneys and Else established a firm friendship. Following Vuminkosi’s death in 1996 the Schreiners set up a trust, of which his family are the beneficiaries. In collaboration with Vuminkosi’s family and the Caversham Press they produced a posthumous print portfolio of etchings, the sale of which has provided the family with much needed income.  Some years ago the Schreiners made a substantial financial contribution to the Tatham Art Gallery Board of Trustees. As a token of appreciation, the Board decided to name one of the display areas The Schreiner Gallery. This space is used extensively for temporary exhibitions by artists from KwaZulu-Natal.

During the early 2000s Deneys and Else’s daughter-in-law, Heather, conducted post-graduate research based on what has since been called the Schreiner Collection. The research culminated in a major temporary exhibition, curated by Heather, at the Tatham Art Gallery in 2006. Exhibition is perhaps a misnomer. The display area was transformed very deliberately into an installation which suggested quite brilliantly the domestic setting in which the art works belonged. Needless to say the family home, Highwood, was virtually stripped and relocated in the Gallery for the duration of the show. 

In 2010 Else approached the Tatham Art Gallery with a generous offer of bequeathing the “African” items in the collection. Over the next six years Gallery staff spent time with Else, always over coffee, learning about the collection and refining the selection of art works in the bequest. It was important that all parties understood two underlying principles. Firstly, family members had first choice. Secondly, each art work in the final selection must add value to the Tatham Art Gallery permanent collection as a whole. For example, whilst the Gallery collection contained a wealth of prints by Vuminkosi Zulu, it contained only one very early sculpture. The Schreiners had acquired seven sculptures from Vuminkosi over the years.

By 2016 it was apparent that the Gallery had a serious art work storage challenge. As museum professionals it was necessary to bring this to Else’s attention. She was philosophical and understood the need to trim the final selection to thirty-two items. These have been accessioned into the permanent collection, a lasting tribute to Deneys and Else’s collecting `habit’.

Clive Hatton, who died on 21 August 2018 in Mpumalanga,  is fondly remembered by Tatham Art Gallery staff members for his support and  long association with the Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery (FOTAG). 

Valerie Maggs, past Chairperson of FOTAG, remembers Clive as a valuable member of the FOTAG committee on which he served from the late 1980s for more than ten years. Clive ran a vibrant studio in Pietermaritzburg,  Hatton Design Studio, and during this time he won a competition  for the design of the FOTAG logo, which is still used today. 

In 2002 Clive, who was a respected and versatile artist and designer,  held a highly successful exhibition at the Tatham Art Gallery. When he moved to Hazy View he continued producing art works. 

He leaves two daughters, Jane and Caitlin  who are both based overseas. He will be missed by his many friends in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tatham Art Gallery Piano Series set to wow

The Tatham Art Gallery, Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery, in association with Music Revival, present a series of four piano-focused concerts in Pietermaritzburg to celebrate the arrival and installation of a new grand piano. The concerts will take place every Sunday in October 2018 at 3:00 pm.

Commenting on the launch of the series, Music Revival director and  Chairperson of the Friends of the Tatham  Art Gallery Christopher Duigan says : “The Tatham Art Gallery has always offered a wonderful concert space for small to medium sized concert audiences.  The generous acoustics, inspiring artworks and creative  atmosphere coupled with pristine up-keep to world-class art museum standards is exemplary.  The fact that the gallery also now also boasts an ideal concert instrument in the form of a hand-built Shigeru Kawai  piano, supplied and prepared by leading  Cape Town-based  concert technicians Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos, places it in a unique position ahead of all concert venues locally.”

 Lara Kirsten - The Resonating Pulse - Sunday 28 October

Tickets to each concert are R100 per person. There is secure, guarded parking available on Sundays in the legislature parking adjacent (on the left of the gallery). Booking is preferred : booking@musicrevival.co.za  or Music Revival 083 417 4473 (sms or WhatsApp only) Make a day of it and enjoy coffee or lunch at Cafe Tatham open from 10 am and for lunch. Booking for lunch is essential - Call Cafe Tatham 033 342 8327. Visit www.tatham.org.za

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Bongiwe Madlala (soprano), Federico Freschi (baritone), Junnan Sun (clarinet), Christopher Duigan (piano) and Russian pianist Vitaly Pisarenko

Friday 14 September 2018 7:30 pm
Tatham Art Gallery
Secure parking
Tickets : R150 includes refreshments
Booking : Bryony 033 392 2825 (mornings only) or email at

In September The Tatham Art Gallery Board of Trustees presents a gala concert not to be missed! A special occasion to mark the retirement of the Gallery Director Brendan Bell, after 27 years of service, this concert serves to acknowledge his enormous contribution as head of the gallery since 1992 ahead of his retirement at the end of September 2018. 

Leading the star studded line-up will be Pietermaritzburg-born soprano Bongiwe Madlala and much-loved baritone and Tatham supporter Federico Freschi. They will sing a selection of popular arias and duets.This will include arias from Italian operas La Wally, La Traviata, La Boheme, and songs  by Noel Coward.

Star clarinetist and principal of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra Junnan Sun plays music by Rossini. Sun is joined on stage by visiting pianist Vitaly Pisarenko who is currently on tour on South Africa. First Prize winner of the 8th International Franz Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht and Third Prize winner of the Leeds International Piano Competition 2015 Pisarenko was described by the New York Times as an "Immensely gifted pianist...with prodigious technique, myriad shadings and scrupulous accuracy…" 

The concert,  featuring a star international pianist,  serves to highlight and make official presentation of the recently acquired Shigeru Kawai grand  piano purchased by the gallery to replace the more than 70 year-old instrument  previously in use. This ensures the continuation of highly successful and engaging concerts for local audiences at the Tatham.

Also to be heard at the piano is pianist Christopher Duigan who co-ordinates the programme.

Guest will be offered a glass of bubbly, served before the concert, and coffee and other refreshments at interval.

Booking for this gala event is essential and places are limited. Advance payment will be expected by EFT. Those attending are invited to dress in accordance with the splendour of the evening. To book contact with Bryony 033 392 2825 (mornings only) or email at Bryony.Clark@msunduzi.gov.za Tickets are R150 including refreshments.


FOTAG (Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery) invite the public to attend a tour of The KwaZulu-Natal Museum on Thursday 12 July at 10h30. The tour, which will be conducted by Heather Pattenden, senior exhibitions officer and designer at the museum, will be based on some of the existing displays and exciting current contemporary changes. A behind the scenes tour of the exhibitions studio, workshop, new Africa exhibition, Climate Change display and upcoming Mandela exhibition will also be included. Book early as places are limited. (Approx 90 mins)
Thursday 12 July 10h30
Tickets R50  (Includes refreshments and Museum entry fee)

Booking :Heather at  email: chris@fotag.co.za or sms WhatsApp 083 417 4473
Parking at Tatham Art Gallery and walk to the Museum.
Places limited to 18

Quiz night

A FOTAG Fund Raising Event

THE FAMOUS ANNUAL FOTAG QUIZ was scheduled for Friday 27 JULY 2018  and once again was be a major affair and  a grand success.  

A capacity audience vied  for the top prizes were  entertained by Quiz master and sports commentator and music/art aficionado Andy Capastagno. A soup smorgasbord  for a wintry evening was  included from Cafe Tatham.