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The Independent Culture
The Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne

The Towner Art Gallery has occupied an 18th-century house in Eastbourne's Manor Gardens since 1923, when local businessman John Chisholm Towner bequeathed his collection of predictable Victorian paintings to the town. Happily, this collection has developed imaginatively over the years, including the recent commissioning of David Nash's excellent Eighteen Thousand Tides - a giant weathered oak sculpture in the gardens. The highlight of a trip to the Towner, however, is a room devoted to Eric Ravilious, the locally born artist who became one of the minor masters of 20th-century British painting and a kind of legend when his aircraft disappeared over Iceland in 1942. His melancholy masterpiece Downs in Winter was bought in 1936 and they've collected his work ever since, including nine works acquired earlier this year with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the NACF.

Manor Gardens, High Street, Eastbourne (01323 417961)