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Lady Jadranka Njers Beresford Peirse promotor of Croatian culture in GB
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  03/5/2009 | People , Culture And Arts , Charity | Unrated
Efforts in raising funds for the restoration of the damaged Croatian monuments

Lady Jadranka Njerš in Zagreb

The winner of the INA award for 1999 Lady Jadranka
Njerš Beresford Peirse

Promotor Croatian culture in Great Britain

Lady Jadranka Njerš Beresford Peirse of London is a fascinating personality and a great patriot, whose efforts for the past several years have been engaged in raising funds both for the restoration of the damaged monuments that form such an important part of Croatian heritage and in finding ways to promote Croatian culture in Great Britain.

Her activity has extended into several areas, but her main concern is the preservation and protection of monuments of the cultural and natural heritage of Croatia, which is why many of her noble actions have been focused on the reconstruction of destroyed churches, damaged cathedrals, a burnt-down arboretum, demolished museums and galleries and devastated towns. Ever since the Republic of Croatia became an independent state and from the beginning of the aggression towards Croatia, Lady Beresford Peirse has directed her efforts with great love and dedication in aid of her native country. On this noble noble mission she has engaged the members of her family, a great number of friends, many distinguished people from all walks of life in England.

With the intention of assisting the reconstruction of her homeland, in November, 1991, Lady Beresford Peirse formed the International Trust for Croatian Monuments (ITCM), which has become the centre of ideas, projects, gatherings and humanitarian activity as well as finacial and every other kind of aid to Croatia in England.

Alongside Jadranka Beresford Peirse, who is certainctive member and the head of the Trust, an illustrious member of the British Society also functioned as a trustee: The late Sir Roger de Grey (deceased in 1995), the president of the Royal Academy of Arts was a trustee in addition to the following: Sherban Cantucuzino, the president of the British International Council on Monumnets and Sites; John Julius Norwich, a member of the House of Lords, a writer and founder of the Venice in Peril trust; Lady Beresford Peirse's husband Sir Henry Beresford Peirse; the Croatian maestro Ivo Pogorelić; and Captain Ante Jerković, the representative of the Atlantska Plovidba (Atlatntic Travels) from Dubrovnik.

In addition to the trustees, many distinguished people are members and participate occasionally in the activities of the Trust by giving financial and other kinds of support. The trust has thereby organized various promotional activities including a great number of exhibitions, concerts and other events under the auspices of important cultural institutions such as the Royal Acadmey of Arts, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Weymouth College. All of these events were for the salvation of various monuments in the towns of Dubrovnik, Vukovar, Šibenik and Trogir. It is partly through these events that Croatian culture and its valuable heritage has been introduced to the cultural public both in England and elsewhere in the world.

Three important concerts by maestro Ivo Pogorelić were also organized in the Trust at the intitiative of Lady Beresford Peirse, accompanied by posters, leaflets and programmes indicating the charitable purpose of the concerts and reproducing a series of photographs of the destroyed cultural monuments of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik. Two concerts were held in the London Royal Festival Hall in 1992 and 1999 in front fo full houses, with over three thousand people in the audience present each time. There was also another concert given by Ivo Pogorelić in Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels in 1994, with the Belgian National Orchestra directed by Uroš Lajovic and under the high patronge of Queen Paula. The patrons of the London Recitals were Prince Charles in 1992 and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and The Duchess of Gloucester in 1992 and 1999. Many distinguished people attended the concerts including Sir Bernard Feilden, the former president of the ICOMOS UK, Sir Edward Heath, the former Primer Minister, H.M. Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia Collin Munro, adn many other people from Great Britain and guests from Croatia.

The financial results achieved with these recitals exceeded even the most optimistic estimates. The funds obtained from the concerts were intended for the reastoration fo the Summer Festival Palace in Dubrovnik and the Town Museum in Vukovar. Since the piano recitals received excellent and extensive coverage in the media, they brought to the fore the suffering edured by the towns of Dubrovnik and Vukovar and the damage inflicted upon these historic sites.

In 1994, Lady Beresford Peirse intiated a very successful co-operation with British artists. With the support of the Royal Academy of Arts she wrote to many British artists and over ninety works were donated for an auction. Among many others, there were works by Paul Hogarth, Ken Howard, George Gray, Donald Hamilton Fraser, Tom Phillips, Gordon Baldwin, Stephen McKenna, Sargy Mann, Geoffrey Clark, Jagoda Buić, Ljerka Njerš and Duško Šibl. The donated works were offered at an auction under the title "Art for Art" at Bonhams, an exclusive auction house in the centre of London. This project was focused on two objectives - both to collect funds and to show the devastation which Croatian culture had suffered. A year later, this sooperation was further developed with the project "Royal Academicians in Dubrovnik". Namely, Paul Hogarth and later on, five other artists, mambers fo the Royal Academy of Arts visited Dubrovnik and recorded their impressions of the City in their paintings which were exhibited in London and Dubrovnik and the promotion of the sales was given to ITCM. With these funds and those collected from the aforementioned auction as well as from some other donations, the Renaissance stone dome of the Šibenik Cathedral, the rosette of the Franciscan monastery, the damaged Church of St. Blaise in Dubrovnik and the tower of the trogir Cathedrl were all restored. In adddition, a stained glass workshop was founded in Osijek, a contribution was sent to the Cathedral in Korčula and help was provided to establish a paper wokshop in Dubrovnik and Zagreb.

Since the very beginning Lady Beresford Peirse has sent world renowned specialists to Croatia, all of whom provided invaluable knowledge and experience to our restorers, as well as valuable materials intended for the protection of various delicate structures. It was through Lady Beresford Peirse's work that professors Pamela and Stephen Allen travelled to Cavtat for the purpose of renovating the Bogišić collection, adn the British glass restorer Drew Anderson visited Osijek on seeral occasions ot assist the local experts.

However, since real knowledge and restoration skills can best be acquired through the relevant collegs stues, Lady Beresford Peirse dedicated one part of the attention and funds of the Trust to young experts from Croatia for their post - graduate educationin England. Three students have already finished their two year post - graduate studies at Waymouth College, which is world - famous for traditional stonemasonry, while other two were at St Paul's Cathedral in London for training stonemansonry and woodcarving. In addition, since September 1999 another student from Croatia has joined a course in reastoration and conservation of oil pintings on canvas at the University of Norhumbria in Newcastle.

However, the activities of Lady Beresford Peirse are not confined onlz to the reastoration and protection of cultural monuments. In cooperation with the Open University at Ivanić Grad, two years ago she intiated a flax and linen weaving wokshop project, aimed at reviving the tradition of growing the preparation of flax and the traditional methods of weaving in Moslavina and Posavina regions (near Zagreb) on a long-term basis. The results are already evident. Linen products, again through the merit of Lady Beresford Peirse, have found their way into fashonable shops in London and Zagreb. These products have also made their way into the homes of peers and the well-known members of the British society. All this suggests that through preservation and renovation, in this case of our national heritage, we can supply an ecologically pure and authentic Croatian product for Europe and the rest of the world.

For all the activities that have already been mentioned, for her exceptional merits in the restoration and protection of Croatian monumnets and also for the ingenuity of Lady Jadranka Njerš Beresford Peirse in her well-considered and long-term activities promoting Croatian national and cultural heritage in the world, the Jury has decided that Lady Bereford Peirse well deserves to receive the INA Award for the promotion of Croatian culture in the world. Her activities and the assignment fo this award are simultaneosly an example to others how dedication and concern for renovation can aid our country by creating awareness of its suffering throughout the world and at the same time promoting its rich cultural heritage.

Milan Moguš, Member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences, President of the INA Award Jury

Many thanks to Mrs. Vesna Bućan, secretary of the Croatian Cultural Club, for her kind help.
Contact: tel/fax +385 1 4826 915.

Moments from the opening of exhibition A Tribute to Milka Ternina organized in The Croatian Embassy Art Gallery in London, 21 Conway Street, September/October 2006. Source:

Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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