Lady Susan Anstruther has been a patron of Pallant House Gallery for three years. Here, she explains what the Gallery means to her and why she chooses to support the organisation in this way.
I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Gallery ever since discovering the original Queen Anne building and its quite surprising contents when I first moved to Sussex, some forty years ago but, wearing my architect's hat, I can also remember feeling sad that its setting had been so badly compromised. The new wing is a near perfect response to a very difficult brief. It's good to have an excellent modern building in Chichester and I admire the way it has succeeded in providing generous new exhibition and social spaces as well as in giving new life and context to the original building by integrating the old with the new.
My own interest in 20th Century art began as a student in London in the 50's and, when I first saw Colin Wilson's collection in the new Pallant House Gallery, I greeted many of the artists as old friends from Cork Street and the annual London Contemporary Art show. I continue to visit exhibitions, mostly at the V&A, the RA, Tate Britain and Tate Modern - another spectacular fusion of old and new and enjoy the challenge of new work.
I try to see most of the exhibitions at Pallant House and have particularly enjoyed the Robin and Lucienne Day in 2011 - very nostalgic for me - Edward Burra, Keith Vaughan and recently, RB Kitaj. I have also joined several of the Friends' visits arranged by the Gallery - the morning at Peter Blake's studio last May being truly memorable.
I am in no doubt that the Collection at Pallant House is of national importance as well as being a huge asset to the City: the fact that it is being steadily augmented by other generous bequests is ample proof of this. I admire the way in which the Gallery manages to combine a forward-looking and stimulating approach to modern art with an open and inclusive policy including outreach activities: it is also a very welcoming place - what better spot for a morning coffee than that lovely little garden looking out at the rejuvenated façade of the old house.
I believe in what the Gallery stands for and I became a Patron to support its efforts. I would recommend the Patrons' Scheme to anyone who feels as I do!