My 5 favourite things
PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 September 2016
John Black from Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stansted Mountfitchet picks five of his favourite things about the county
John Black is a specialist valuer and auctioneer at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers in Stansted Mountfitchet, where he runs the Modern Art and Design sales and advises on valuations and house sales. For 15 years he has enjoyed Essex’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. Stansted Mountfitchet is a bustling village north of Bishop Stortford, near to the border with Hertfordshire. The auctioneer’s saleroom won awards for its environmental sustainability and green credentials when it moved to its purpose-built site, a former gravel works.
1 My favourite inspiration
The Fry Art Gallery This is a gem of a gallery in Saffron Walden, which showcases the artistic community of North Essex – in particular Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. The gallery is tucked away of a quiet street – and then opens its doors to a fantastic collection of Bardfield School artists.
2 My favourite family outing
The House on the Hill Toy Museum and Castle Nestled away in the centre of Stansted Mountfitchet, this 12-acre site is home to a splendid collection, the toys are incredible and my boys love the Castle – a recreation of a Norman castle from 1066.
3 My favourite place to visit
Henry Moore Studios and Garden A magnificent setting, Perry Green boasts more than 60 acres of gardens and grounds with Henry Moore’s sculptures – see the studio where many of the works were created. It is a place with its own unique atmosphere.
4 My favourite dog walk
The Aubrey Buxton Nature Reserve Just behind the saleroom, where we work outside the village is this nature reserve – Essex’s beautiful countryside at its best – and we can’t believe how luck we are to have it on our doorstep. With my colleagues at Sworders we walk our dogs in our lunch break, which is magical wandering next to a series of ponds within a serene woodland setting.
5 My favourite Essex café
Todd at Sworders On viewing and sale days at Sworders we have Todd, who makes the best sausage rolls and cakes this side of Essex. It’s always great for our clients to come in and taste what he has to offer and view the works that we are going to sell in a few hours’ time.