Lyndsey Smith, an artist based near Lewes, chats to Your County about how the county inspires her work.

I have lived in Sussex all my life. My Dad was a painter and would have solo exhibitions at the Rose & Crown in Fletching back in the 1970s and I would love to see him planning how to hang all his paintings. I live near Lewes and love to walk there and look at the old buildings and find out about the history.

I love living in East Sussex, the countryside on my doorstep for walking with my dog, the history in the towns and villages with the pubs and old churches and shops, the ease of getting to London and the closeness of the sea. All inspiring for painting.

Lyndsey Smith

These two shops in Lewes once formed one large emporium called Dusarts. It offered Bathing and health spa, also fancy goods, and hairdressing. This building was built following a great fire in 1904 which had destroyed the previous building. Young Master Dusart jumped from an upstairs window to escape the fire, crashing through a glass roof of the baths below. His mother and younger brother followed. Miraculously he survived the jump, probably saving the lives of his family by doing so, and went on to run the emporium for many years.
I have pictured him as I imagine him, doing hair upstairs. A nod to the baths on the left with the girl in a towel and a pearl earring at the left window upstairs.

My work can always be seen at Chalk Gallery in Lewes. It is a gallery run by the artists. there are 21 of us, and we take turns in being in the gallery so there is always an artist to meet. We put new work up every six weeks and because we all work in very different styles the exhibitions are always varied. Chalk celebrates 10 years this year and in October we will be having a big exhibition at the Towner gallery in Eastbourne, inviting back all our past members. You can also see my website or blog I paint a picture annually for a SASBAH charity christmas card sold via Cards for Good Causes. The Lewes and Eastbourne cards that I painted have sold really well. I am currently working on a book for Lewes auther Julian Warrender with Hare and Heron Press. We published our first book last year “the Railway Land Dogs’ Club” set on the Railway Land beside the Ouse in Lewes. Our second book is a story of moles mirroring the history of the Magna Carter.

Lyndsey Smith art

Last year Waterstones moved into Dial house in the precinct in Lewes. This building had been occupied for 100 years by Mayo Wynne Baxter Solicitors. Wynne Baxter was a Coroner that had led the inquests into several Whitechapel Murders and also Merrick – The Elephant Man. He was a former mayor of Lewes. I have imagined him at an upstairs window.
The building was built originally at the instruction of John Godlee a Quaker businessman in 1826, as a Quaker school for girls. The girls could often be seen in town, walking in pairs on their way to the meeting house in Friars Walk.
Now this area is a lively part of Lewes, often with buskers and the wonderful food smells from the regular farmers markets that set up there.


Lyndsey Smith art

Wallis and Wallis Auction Galleries currently occupies this amazing building in Lewes. The building intrigued me so I set about finding its history.
It was built for the Lewes Co Operative Society and opened with much ceremony in West Street at the turn of the last century. The building’s extravagant exterior caused controversy at the time.
There is a barn behind, once a dairy. Later years it was used for dances and I have heard of Lewes couples that met and formed lasting relationships here, at the Co Op.

For more information visit Lyndsey Smith’s website.