James Henry Pullen Inmate – Inventor – Genius

19 June 2018 – 28 October 2018 Watts Gallery

The Watts Gallery says:

This exhibition, the first ever gallery show devoted to Pullen’s work, highlights a frequently unseen part of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century art world. Drawing on Pullen’s newly transcribed psychiatric case notes and in-depth research into his biographical and psychiatric context, it explores the life and imagination of an artist who became the archetype of the ‘savant’, a category with continuing resonance in how we conceptualise artists today. At the same time, it seeks to prompt a reassessment of Pullen himself, emphasising his status not as a mechanical copyist but as an innovative artist of imagination and wit.

It will be accompanied by a specially commissioned film, directed by Gilly Booth of HiJack Films. Displayed in the exhibition space, the film will allow visitors to get a close look at these intricate and detailed small-scale pieces, in particular showcasing two kinetic works in motion. The film will also offer a privileged insight into the process of conserving Pullen’s ‘Rotary Barge’, a design for a ship that would never capsize. Having been in a significant state of disrepair for several years, the ‘Rotary Barge’ will be specially repaired and restored for this exhibition by the experienced modelmaker Henry Milner.

As well as enriching the exhibition’s interpretation, the film will reflect this exhibition’s collaborative ethos and its firm location in the heart of Surrey by showcasing the physical spaces associated with Pullen: Earlswood itself, in Redhill, the Langdon Down Centre, Teddington and the Surrey History Centre, in Woking.

Watts Gallery, Down Lane, Compton, Surrey, GU3 1DQ

Without Walls

Disability and Innovation in Building Design

This exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London includes two photographs from the Langdon Down Museum.

Other images in the exhibition include original architectural drawings of the main building and boathouse by Rowland Plumbe.

Exhibition at the V&A on now until 21 October 2018. Rooms 128a & 127.

The Staff of Normansfield 1868 – 1997

4rd Shared Learning Project with the U3A 2017


Researching the staff who worked at Normansfield between 1868 and 1997. Staff duties at Normansfield were very wide-ranging according to the period of time and have covered medical/care staff, farm workers, maintenance staff and teachers.

Results from this project will appear on this website in 2018.

For past U3A projects see here.

Normansfield – Protecting a Theatrical Past

The scenery stored at Normansfield is unique, it’s as remarkable as the theatre itself.

The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) received £85,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its exciting project: ‘Normansfield – Protecting a Theatrical Past’ in July 2015.