David Winter Open Day – David Winter Cottages

 

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David Winter UnveilingThe only way to enjoy David Winter’s Annual Garden Party is on a glorious summer day in July, and I did just that, along with other like-minded collectors, who flocked from all over, in order to celebrate the work of this talented sculptor and witness the unveiling of the prestigious “Chelsea Pensioner” piece.

 

David and his team of helpers, which included, collectors, family and friends surpassed themselves to make this event something special for all that attended. The famous “Coalshed”, where David sculpted his first cottage back in 1979, was open to visit, you could also purchase retired pieces from private collections, play the games, have a go on the tombola and then finish it off with a scrumptious tea and a pint of beer which was pulled behind the bar by David himself.

David Winter Keston CottageThere was also the event piece that could only be purchased by those who had pre-ordered.  Only 150 of this 3-dimensional plaques “Keston Cottage” have been made and features a miniature replica of David’s home, so added to the excitement of the day, because those that bought one were not only taking home another piece for their collection but a memory from their day out.

Also on show where the various limited and general release pieces for 2006, including the Christmas “Shepherd and Flock” which will retire on 31st December. The Guild Membership piece “Friary Ruins” and “Foleys Folly” a general release piece.

David Winter Open DayThere really was something for everyone and some of the collectors had travelled from the other side of the globe to attend this event. David Winter has over 2,000 collectors in the USA alone and Donna from New Jersey explained to me that she is an avid supporter of David’s work owning a staggering 300 pieces, however, her friend just pips her to the post by boasting 525 cottages that she has collected since 1985.

Chelsea PensionersAlso in attendance were Eric and Ben, two scarlet-coated Chelsea Pensioners. They had travelled down from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea to show their support to David and also partake in the highlight of the day, which was the unveiling of the prized “Chelsea Pensioner” piece.

Chelsea Pensioners PieceAnn Hamlet, who owns the Cottage Exchange, and also the David Winter’s Collectors Club GB, had discovered whilst researching her late fathers military history that the Royal Hospital, Chelsea were asking for public donations to raise funds for their infirmary appeal. After contacting the RHC last year, the David Winter’s Collectors Club GB donated £1,000 to the pot. Ann and David then made the suggestion of David carving a special piece for the RHC.

Chelsea Pensioner PieceThe inspiration for this prestigious piece was taken from Garden Designer, Julian Dowle’s “Pensioners Garden” (a Soldier’s dream of Blighty), which was shown at the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show. This award-winning garden was presented with Best In Show, Gold Medal and the People’s Award so was the obvious piece to be replicated by David.

 

An extremely difficult piece to recreate, David had to copy the garden design exactly, even down to the finest floral detail.  Once unveiled it became obvious that the intricacy of the piece was a credit to David’s talent as a skilled artist because the “Chelsea Pensioner” is a remarkable work of art. This general release piece, retails at £170, with a substantial donation from each sold being given to the infirmary appeal so even if you are not usually a collector of David Winter Cottages here is your excuse to get started and in the process help raise funds for a very worthy cause!

The event itself was a fantastic day, and enjoyed by all. Proving that even after more than 25 years in the collectables industry David Winter can still throw a hell of a bash for his loyal band of collectors.