Personal statement from Sarah Hosking, founder/secretary
I founded this Trust and have worked hard to get it up and running, because I think that creative talent, in any of the arts, often takes time to develop. There is so much emphasis on the latest, the newest, the youngest writer, composer or artist that those who have spent their lives patiently developing whatever it is that they have to say, can find themselves neglected.
Furthermore, I am of the generation of women who achieved higher education and appointment to jobs of interest, before the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act. The effect of this (and other acts of liberalisation) has been profound, but to those of us who lived and worked under blatant discrimination, a few appropriately directed benefits now seem to me worth establishing.
As I reached my fifties, I reluctantly accepted that I was not born to be a wonderful writer or painter. I am a useful writer and have published two useful books; I am a passable painter and won an award for a mural (of which I remain quite proud), but in none of the arts am I destined to shine, or even faintly gleam. I therefore decided to found this Trust for those who are so talented and find my excitement in manufacturing their opportunity.
The terms of my Trust are carefully written in order to take account of changing social circumstances but, for the moment, we exist to help older women of established, artistic merit by giving them domestic ease and financial support for a fixed term. As a child, I was surrounded by grannies and aged uncles, aunts, and cousins who lived in and around Warwick. I loved them all but the women I remember now as having lived through two world wars with their attendant tragedies but, even as they tottered into extreme old age, had a sort of domestic life that I have always sentimentally emulated and which is now the pattern for the Trust set-up. It was simple, as this family’s profession was that of butchers and slaughtermen and, until my Dad’s time, none had higher education. But their domestic life was satisfactory; just money enough if handled with care, and a few fowl in the garden, spinach in the patch, croquet on the lawn, a good fire and a piano in the parlour and there was always enough sherry in the bottle for another small one all round.
Nostalgic nonsense? Nostalgic certainly, but nonsense, never. Having successfully established a ‘Writer in Residence’ (and it has taken about three thousand letters over ten years to achieve), my aim now is to establish similar, endowed opportunities for a visual artist, a composer and a ‘something’, perhaps combining the arts, sciences and philosophies in tranquil, domestic circumstances that would prompt those aunts to comment, “Enough is as good as a feast and any more is a waste.”