Who we are

Veronica Stewart

Veronica Stewart was passionate in her support of the arts. This Trust was established in Veronica’s memory by her friends and family, to reflect that passion and continue that support. Throughout her life, Veronica was involved with many charitable and arts organisations including:

  • Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival
  • Artichoke
  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Canford School
  • Dorset Summer Music Society
  • Naomi House Hospice for children and young adults
  • Royal Academy
  • Salisbury Arts Centre
  • Salisbury Playhouse
  • Southern Spinal Injuries Trust
  • Talking Newspaper for the blind

Along with this ‘official’ involvement she was also a great nurturer of individuals: creating exhibitions to promote visual artists, initiating commissions for composers and writers, and extending the beauty, warmth and hospitality of her home to an extraordinarily eclectic mix of people.


Harriet Walter

Harriet Walter trained at LAMDA.

She is a governor and associate artist of the RSC where she has played a wide range of Shakespearean leading ladies spanning 3 decades from Viola, Helena and Imogen to Beatrice, Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra. Also for the RSC she played the title role in The Duchess of Malfi and Masha in Three Sisters for which she won an Olivier award. When the female roles became thin on the ground she took to playing Brutus in the Donmar theatre’s all-female Julius Caesar which transferred to New York.

Besides the RSC she has worked extensively in all styles of theatre at the National Theatre (Women Beware Women, Dinner, Arcadia , Life X 3 and The Children’s Hour) to the Royal Court (Three Birds Alighting on a Field, The Seagull, Cloud Nine and Ophelia to Jonathan Pryce’s Hamlet)

the Almeida (Ivanov, The Possessed) the Hampstead Theatre (Sweet Panic, US and Them) and the West End (Old Times, Dinner, The Royal Family and the Donmar’s Mary Stuart ). She won the Evening Standard Award for her role as Elizabeth in Mary Stuart and a Tony nomination when the production transferred to Broadway in 2009.

She has also been a champion of new writing and is a trustee of the Peggy Ramsay Foundation

Her TV roles are numerous but she is perhaps best known as Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey series, and more recently as D.I. Natalie Chandler in Law and Order: UK.

Harriet’s film credits include Suite Francaise (upcoming) The Wedding Video, Young Victoria, Atonement, Babel, Bright Young Things, Onegin, Sense and Sensibility and Louis Malle’s Milou et Mai.

Harriet has also published three books, Other People’s Shoes, Macbeth for the Faber series ‘Actors on Shakespeare’ and a photography book Facing It: reflections on images of older women. Appointed a CBE in 2000, Honorary D.Litt Birmingham University (2000) and DBE in 2011

Personal statement

Veronica Stewart was my lately discovered cousin and she was a wonderful support and friend to me in the last ten years of her life. We practitioners of the arts need people like Veronica. She was a true appreciator of all fields of artistic expression. She understood things at a high level but also enjoyed the simple joys of entertainment. She had a gift for effortlessly picking out the “ones to watch” spreading the word, connecting people up and galvanizing support for projects she thought were worthwhile. So many people have her to thank for at least one great connection they made, or a project that wouldn’t have happened so easily without her. It is wonderful that her eyes and ears and sensibilities can live on in some way through the VSAT

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Jonathan Dove

Winner of the 2008 Ivor Novello Award for classical music, Jonathan Dove has written more than twenty-five operas of different shapes and sizes – including the highly successful airport comedy Flight, first produced at Glyndebourne in 1998 and subsequently performed in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Australia and America. He has written two operas for television, When She Died and Man on the Moon (winner of a Rose d'Or at Montreux), a church opera, Tobias and the Angel, and several chamber operas. An unusual achievement has been a series of community operas in different parts of the UK, sometimes involving several hundred performers in a single event.

In 2008 Dove joined the Cape Farewell voyage to the Arctic, and has subsequently been developing opera projects relating to climate change, including The Walk from the Garden, commissioned for the 2012 Salisbury Festival and dedicated to the memory of Veronica Stewart.

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Vikram Seth

Born in 1952 in Calcutta, India, Vikram Seth was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Stanford University and Nanjing University. He has travelled widely and lived in Britain, California, India and China. His first novel, The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse (1986) describes the experiences of a group of friends living in California. His acclaimed epic of Indian life, A Suitable Boy (1993), won the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book). An Equal Music (1999) is the story of a violinist haunted by the memory of a former lover.

Vikram Seth is also the author of a travel book, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983), an account of a journey through Tibet, China and Nepal that won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and Arion and the Dolphin: A Libretto (1994), which was performed by the English National Opera in June 1994, with music by Alec Roth. His poetry includes Mappings (1980), The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985), winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia), and All You Who Sleep Tonight: Poems (1990). His children's book, Beastly Tales from Here and There (1992), consists of ten stories about animals told in verse. In a collection of poems, Three Chinese Poets (1992), Seth offered up an ambitious and daring translation of three poets of the T’ang dynasty: Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu. Two Lives (2005), is a memoir of the marriage of his great uncle and aunt, and Confluences, his collaboration with composer Alec Roth and violinist Philippe Honoré for Salisbury, Chelsea and Lichfield Festivals (2006 – 2008) resulted in The Rivered Earth (2012). He is currently writing A Suitable Girl, sequel to A Suitable Boy.

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David Bernstein

David Bernstein graduated from Oxford University in 1978 and began his working life in the civil service, before qualifying as a lawyer. After practising briefly in London he moved into the business world. He is now on the board of a small food importing company and a small private investment company – both based in London.

He sits on the boards of a number voluntary organisations in the UK, including the The Opera Group, the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust, and the New Israel Fund, as well as two grant giving foundations. He also sits on the Middle East North Africa Advisory Council of Human Rights Watch, having been a supporter of HRW for a number of years.

Daniel Burrough

(on behalf of Veronica’s family)

Dan worked as a production carpenter, automation engineer and props maker for various theatre and television companies during the mid-eighties and nineties. Dan is now a qualified furniture designer and maker, and for the last 12 years has run his own cabinet making business. Dan is Veronica’s eldest child, and is proud to represent Veronica’s family.

Sally Collier

Sally is founder of the Veronica Stewart Arts Trust. Sally was a board member of Salisbury Arts Centre for a number of years, becoming chair of the Board in the early 1990s. She also ran the Salisbury Film Society for fifteen years. A degree in Social Anthropology from SOAS (2005) gave her the skills and opportunities to work as a researcher for various organisations.

Sue Kent

Sue was a teacher for many years before defecting to work in the arts. She was a founder member of Salisbury Arts Centre, setting up and nurturing various initiatives there, and has managed projects for several national music organisations. Currently she works with Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, and also manages La Folia – a music production company creating performance-based projects which bring live music making of the highest calibre to people who otherwise might not have the opportunity to experience it.

Freya Stewart, CEO of Art Lending on losing her mum too soon, on the power of memory and the embracing arms of the arts in keeping her legacy alive...

My mum, Veronica, was full of energy. She embraced life through her love of family and friends, and overall through art, in all its colourful forms. I am one of four siblings and we grew up in a magical home on a beautiful farm high up on the Wiltshire Downs surrounded by art and artists giving a richness not only to my mum’s life, but also to my own and that of my siblings. I could not imagine a childhood any other way. Artists breathed through our house like an extension of our family: old friends and new, people whom mum wanted to support, sometimes merely by providing a loving home from home for all who needed it, whether they knew it or not.

My mum’s love of art and her determination in supporting artists and their creative endeavours has been a monumental gift, hopefully to all those who have directly benefited from her support, but also to me. Loving art is an inherent part of who I am and it connects me to so many wonderful people in my life today. Despite my mum dying too young, aged 62, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a mother who has left me with all these precious gifts.

Listening to my mother’s eulogy – which recounted the numerous ways in which she tried to help and support artists from all walks of life – I could not have been prouder. My mother was by no means a wealthy lady, yet she found all kinds of ways to support artists and artistic projects, with time, energy, connections, encouragement, modest commissions and love. It is this love and support of artists that the Veronica Stewart Arts Trust seeks to continue. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, in writing this it has a dawned on me that not only do the objectives of the Trust reflect the legacy of my mum, but so too does the way in which the Trust is able to achieve those objectives: with the amazing generosity of those who share the same love of the arts and support the Trust not just financially, but with time, energy and creativity. Each year, for five years, the Trust will support a different medium of art: sculpture, music, painting, drama and literature. This year, the Trust focuses on sculpture.

In April 2014, the Trust opened an eight-month sculpture exhibition in conjunction with the National Trust, in Mompesson House, Salisbury, Wiltshire. The exhibition aims to provide a platform of exposure for a number of exhibiting emerging sculptors, whose work is shown alongside that of sculptors with established international reputations. Most of the exhibitors, some of whom are also sadly no longer with us, were friends of my mother’s and some are also local to Salisbury, which makes this project even more special. This is exactly the kind of project my mum would have wanted to do herself. It is a beautifully curated exhibition, set in a beautiful house and garden in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral – a magical wonder of place, cherished by all of my family, as it was by my mum.

Until recently, I walked to work every day via Paternoster Square, by St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and every morning I would walk past the magnificently beautiful sculpture by Dame Elizabeth Frink, Shepherd and Sheep. It felt like a gift from my Mother, and it was.

The contemporary sculpture exhibition at Mompesson House in memory of my mother will be open until Sunday November 2nd, do stop by.