Highbury Community Association

Representing the people who live and work in Highbury, Lower Holloway and Finsbury Park

Local Events

Here we list some selected local events.

If you have a local event that you would like us to consider putting on the website, please send details to hcanews@hotmail.com

12th May 2024
Olden Garden
June/July 2024
Stoke Newington Early Music Festival

SNEMF summer festival events can now be booked on our website.

Look out for posters and leaflets in shops and cafes around Stoke Newington from next week. The poster design features the famous 18th century painting by Johann Zoffany: The Sharp Family.

The Sharp family were famous for their musical parties, held aboard their barge, Apollo, as it floated up and down the Thames. This spirit of joyous domestic music making can be enjoyed in SNEMF’s opening concert on 19th June. Pleasures of Youth presents trios for flute, viola and guitar, composed for Viennese salons in the 1800’s.

The man at the top of the picture, waving his hat, is William Sharp. A notable physician, who treated George III’s family as well as providing a free surgery for the poor of London, William is dressed in the uniform of the royal household. His instrument, the french horn, rests on the harpsichord below. Horns will appear at SNEMF in a FREE CONCERT on 27th June, performed by students from the historical brass department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

To the left of the horn is William’s brother, Granville Sharp. A prominent abolitionist, Granville was also a gifted amateur musician, of whom George III declared that he had the finest voice in England. Bottom right sits clergyman brother John, while opposite him brother James is holding a serpent. Sadly, no serpent will sound at SNEMF this summer, but the instrument is always in evidence in our logo:

Above clergyman John, Judith Sharp is playing a 13-course swan neck baroque lute. We do not have precisely this instrument at SNEMF this summer, but you can hear Jacob Heringman playing renaissance lute in O Sweet Woods! on 20th June and Toby Carr playing theorbo in Love’sFire; Love’s Ashes on 28th June.

Looking up at Judith Sharp, a little girl sits cuddling a kitten. I do not know the name of the kitten, but the girl may be William’s daughter, Mary. Evidently the Sharp children were immersed in music from a young age, as the children of Stoke Newington can be also, since SNEMF continues the Early Music for Early Years series with Medieval and Traditional Lullabies on 5th July.

At the bottom left of the picture you can just make out the tip of a bow stuck through the bridge of a cello. No doubt this careless treatment would horrify cellist Kinga Gáborjáni, who continues her cycle of Bach cello suites in her recital Innocence and Devotion on 24th June. However, the entire escapade represented in the painting looks a little risky, especially the conveyance of a harpsichord on a small barge. At SNEMF this summer we play safe, keeping harpsichords on firm ground. Nevertheless there should be a party atmosphere when the Istante Collective perform Tafelmusik - Telemann’s music for feasting – in a lunchtime concert on 3rd July.

Zoffany’s painting, The Sharp Family, is in the National Gallery. For more about this very remarkable family, you may like to read the articles here and here.

Interesting fact: Granville Sharp sometimes signed his letters G#.

Looking forward to seeing you at SNEMF 2024!