Viva Lewes - The Hills are Alive

About ten years ago I was wandering through London and I dropped into the Photographers’ Gallery, Covent Garden side of Soho. If you ever go there, it’s worth checking out the prints for sale in the bit upstairs. I was mesmerised by a series of large black and white photos by a photographer called Lee Miller. They were taken in 1945 during the allied invasion of Germany. There was something moving about them, something delicate, even though many of them depicted dead bodies of German soldiers. Only when I saw a picture of the photographer in Hitler’s bathtub in Munich in 1944, did I realise that Lee was a she. From then on I looked out for her work, and found it: many years later, living in Barcelona, I was delighted to find a book of her photographs in a gallery bookshop. I learnt more about her remarkable life, as a muse for the surrealists, as a fashion model, as an artist in her own right. Last October, walking past the Star Gallery, I was excited and rather stunned to see an exhibition of Miller’s photos. In Lewes! It set my mind thinking. Things go on in this town. Much more than meets the eye. And I could have easily missed that exhibition. I decided that Lewes needed a listings magazine. Viva Lewes is the fruit of that decision. Researching this issue I was delighted to have the opportunity of interviewing Antony Penrose, who runs his mother’s archives in the house they lived in for thirty years in Chiddingly, which will be opening its doors this weekend. And to be given access to the remarkable picture by Miller we’ve used on the cover, of Pablo Picasso, standing on the Chiddingly Road. I wonder if he made it into Lewes. Enjoy the week.

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Where is it?
Cover: ‘Picasso by sign post, Chiddingly 1950' Photograph by
Lee Miller © Lee Miller Archives, England 2006.
All rights reserved.
Above: Nice dragon: but where is it?
Last week: Lansdown Place