China Connection


Stamford-based heritage artist John Bangay has just returned from a personal appearance at a touring exhibition of his heritage artworks in Chongqing, China.

John was invited by The China – Britain Council and British Chamber of Commerce in China to participate in the annual touring ‘best of British brands’, exhibition showing some of his drawings of famous British landmarks, including cathedrals, castles and windmills in Eastern England. The exhibition arrangements were co-ordinated by John’s companion, Fengzhu, a party member in the mega city of Chongqing, population 31 million.

“Less Chinese come to England from western China and It was a chance to show the Chinese that Cambridge and York are not the only places in Eastern England worth a visit.” said John. “They were particularly interested in stories such as Magna Carta, and I explained Stamford’s part in that event.”
The exhibition was staged in the massive new Shin Kong exposition centre and was opened by the British Consul-General for Western China, Cecille El Beleidi, and Goyo Du, China – Britain Business Council co-ordinator for Sichuan province.

John with Consul-General

John’s exhibition contains 28 drawings and watercolours, from Durham Cathedral in the north to St. Paul’s cathedral in London. During the John’s appearance at the exhibition, he produced a drawing of Isaac Newton’s home, Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham.

“A lot of chinese children came to talk to me and watch me drawing. I was really surprised that every child knew the story of Newton and the apple that is .reputed to have landed on his head.” There were some unexpected appearances. “At one point two six foot tall Russian models toured the exhibits and paused to pose in front of my Beverley Minster drawing –giving a whole new meaning to the description ‘perpendicular style’!” joked John.

The exhibition aroused a lot of interest and a review in the prestigious ‘China Daily ‘ newspaper, called it “A fine example of the culture heritage of old England.”

Plans are being made for the exhibition to continue touring other major Chinese cities and John plans to re-join the tour at some point in the new year. “I love going to China –Chongqing is a truly-space-age city with an awesome infrastructure of road and rail communications.” Said John “The contrast between the gentle pace of life in Stamford, with its low heritage skyline and the endless apartment blocks and massive city centre skyscrapers of Chongqing could not be more dramatic.”