"Such Goodly Company" The Bowyers' Company Exhibition 14th May 2009
In the autumn of 2008 the idea was put forward to the Master and supported by the Muniments Committee to hold an exhibition outlining aspects of the Company's history and its activities today. It was intended to show the members of the Company and the wider world the Company's possessions, artefacts and associated documents.
The first part of the planning was to produce a narrative to support each area of the Company's activity to be displayed. They were a detailed history of the Company, a description of Company's Coat of Arms supported by illustrations from the College of Arms; the Company's history of charitable giving from the days of James Wood and the gifting of his manor of Isley Walton and the Company's charitable activities to the present day; the Company's involvement with the art and craft of Bowyery and the active support of Archery were described; The Company's affiliations with HMS Northumberland and the Mercian Regiment were also described in an historical context; The Company's regalia and silver were displayed; finally biographies of the Company's three Lord Mayors were prepared.
Once the narrative was completed work began on the preparation of the catalogue and bringing together of the documents and artefacts to be displayed. Copies of the various acts of parliament associated with Bowyers were obtained from the Houses of Parliament, the Bowyers' Cup was borrowed form the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Museum, and documents were copied in the Guildhall Library, the London Metropolitan Archive and the Public Record Office at Kew. The museum at Ashby la Zouche kindly loaned items from their collection regarding the estate at Isley Walton. Andy Barnsdale arranged the loan and delivery of the Longbow Day Prizes from the Royal Toxophilite Society. John Glazier kindly loaned a moquette of an archer which had been used as the model for an Archery prize presented to the Grand National Archery Society for one of their competitions. Mannequins were borrowed form the Museum of London to display the Company's Gowns. Two exhibition easels were kindly loaned by Tony and Enid Kench. At the same time, the web master Alex Barker designed a format for the catalogue and an outline concept for the displays. Once all the design work as completed the copy was proof read by the Clerk and Simon Leach. Once this was complete the drafts were sent to Screaming Colour who produced a magnificent set of display boards and a most impressive catalogue.
Major Steve Marcham of the Vintners Company had kindly placed the Company Banner in position prior to arrival of the Clerk, the Beadle, John Hayton, Sinclair and Jenny Rogers, Simon Leach at 5 Crowns House to arrange the exhibits and displays. These latter had been delivered just prior to our arrival courtesy of Michael Wren and Screaming Colour. The mannequins arrived on time and the tables were set up around the OXO Boardroom. The team brought up artefacts from the store room and placed them in position. All was completed by midday at which point the Clerk, the Beadle and John Hayton enjoyed an excellent recuperatory lunch at Sweetings.
At four o'clock in the afternoon invited guest from the Livery Movement began to arrive and were welcomed by the Master and the Clerk and a glass of wine kindly provided by the Master. The exhibition remained open to the wider public until 6pm when it was closed for half an hour.
At six thirty pm the Exhibition reopened for members of the Company and their guests. Dr Anne Curry, Barbara Megson, Matthew Payne from the Guildhall and representatives from the Mercian Regiment were among the guests. Searceys provided very substantial canapés and the wine flowed as members of the Company enjoyed each others' company and looking at the various displays. Towards the end of the reception a certificate was presented to Victoria Glazier the widow of former Court Assistant Tim Glazier commemorating his golden jubilee as a member of the Company.
The reception ended at about nine thirty and the exhibition was very quickly taken down and the artefacts returned to the Company store. It was agreed by all that it had been a magnificent occasion which had raised the profile of the Company within the City.