Curator’s Blog – Rediscovering Our Collections

Curator’s Blog – Rediscovering Our Collections

Friday 16 September 2016

As ever it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Since my last post we had a very successful buyer’s evening for the new landing show with two works sold on the first night, which is great. Malcolm Fryer and Ian Norris are doing a free talk about their artistic inspiration and practice next month so if anyone wants the chance to meet the artists and ask them a few questions then please come along. The talk starts at 2pm and is on Thursday 20th October and is in our studio, which is just off The Landing gallery.

Speaking of talks, we’ve recently had two very popular talks as part of the watercolour exhibition, Tinted Steam & Liquid Light. The first talk was by watercolour expert Timothy Wilcox who talked about the history of watercolour and the second talk was by the exhibition curator, Dr Amanda Draper who provided a fascinating insight and history of John Singer Sargent. The talk examined our piece in the collection by him ‘In the Generalife Gardens’, pictured below and gave a really good insight into the artist and the way he played with light. Many people, me included, certainly came away with a better understanding and appreciation of just how incredible our watercolour by him is.

Behind the scenes work is continuing on documenting the collections and getting the information about them onto our collections management database. I’ve also been busy working with a volunteer organising the storage of the prints and drawings collection so that we have artists grouped in the storage drawers and boxes. It sounds a bit boring but it’s actually been great fun going through all of the works on paper and just having a look at them while we decide where best to store them. We have a lot of work in our collection by Percy Lancaster, who used to be honorary curator of the Atkinson Art Gallery during the inter-war years and he now has three drawers housing his works on paper collection! Born in Manchester in 1878, Percy Lancaster studied architecture before taking up painting, studying at the Southport and Manchester Schools of Art. He was a fine landscape painter in both oils and watercolours as well as a very good etcher. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1910 and four years later he was made a full Member of the Royal Society of British Artists. In 1921 he became a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. He was shown in many of the major institutions and galleries in the UK, including 20 works at the Royal Academy, 60 at the Royal Society of Painters, Etchers and Engravers, 12 at the Fine Arts Society, 123 at Liverpool’s Walker Gallery, 68 at the Royal Cambrian Academy, 104 at the Royal Society of British Artists and others up and down the country. As you can see he was a prolific artist and is represented in a lot of collections but I think we have more any other gallery, which seems very fitting for an ex-honorary curator! I’ll end with one of Lancaster’s images from our oil collection entitled ‘The Bee’. (as pictured)

Posted on 28 September 2016 under Museum

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