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Public Art in Farnham


The Farnham Public Art Trust welcomes you to its website

We are a small charitable trust founded in 1995 by the late Major Bryan Sell MBE who was at the time an elected member of Farnham Town Council and Mayor of Farnham.  He was a strong supporter of all forms of public art and craft, because he saw how much such features can contribute to the character and individuality of towns like Farnham.

Recognising that public authorities would always have difficulty in finding funding for art projects because they have so many urgent demands upon their often limited resources, he decided to set up a charitable trust to raise money independently and undertake this work.   

The Trust Deed, taking the Hampshire Sculpture Trust as a model, was signed on 18th May 1995, with eight trustees including Major Sell himself.  Four were elected local councillors, there was a representative of the Farnham Society and also the Farnham Art Society, together with an architect and a local sculptor.

The Trust's charitable objective is:

To advance public education in the arts in Farnham and its environs by the display of works of art and craft in public places.

Since its foundation, the trust has grown and prospered. Currently there are thirteen trustees including artists, architects, a teacher and representatives of the local community with specialist knowledge relating to the trust's work.  Meetings are usually held every other month, and are regularly attended by Waverley Borough Council's Community and Art Development officer and a representative of Farnham Town Council.

The trust initiates its own art and craft projects as well as supporting and facilitating others.  To cover administrative costs it organises a programme of lectures from September to May each year, on a variety of subjects relating to the arts and architecture.


5th December 1929 - 19th July 2016

In 2002, Alfred Rowe was invited to become a trustee. At that time, the Trust had just completed a project commemorating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, consisting of a mosaic representing aspects of Farnham and its history, and a carved oak seat, which was unveiled by Princess Alexandra.

As an architect Alfred quickly made himself an indispensable member of the trust, taking on the job of preparing and submitting planning applications for two ambitious new projects commemorating famous Farnham people, William Cobbett the politician and author, and John Henry Knight the UK car pioneer.  The Trust soon discovered that it is one thing to find and commission an artist for a new work, but a much more difficult thing to steer it through the maze of the planning process.  Alfred however rose to the challenge and achieved successful planning consents.  The statue of William Cobbett was finally completed and unveiled in September this year but the Knight sculpture which was to have been placed on a traffic island, fell foul of intractable highway regulations.  

His other major contribution was to set up a lecture programme to raise funds for the trust’s work.  Over the years he gave some 26 lectures for the trust, drawing on his own huge stock of lectures and photographs on architecture built up through  lecturing on cruise ships.  He refused payment of any kind, and this magnificent contribution helped not just to raise funds, but to raise the trust’s profile and attract a regular audience of lovers of art and craft.   

As a trustee, Alfred was an expert adviser but also a friend, generous and witty with a wicked sense of humour.  He will be greatly missed.

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