Blog Archives

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 7

Kenilworth Castle with cattle by Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding (1787 to 1855)
Kenilworth Castle with cattle
pre 1855

Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding was a popular and successful painter, particularly in watercolour. He exhibited over 600 works during his life. From the early 1800s Fielding made several tours around Britain painting landscapes.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Advertisements

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 6

William Brooke, Ancient Passage Leading to the Hall, 1819

William Brooke (1772 to 1860)
Ancient Passage leading to the Hall
1819

St Mary’s Guildhall was begun in 1340 by the merchant guild of St Mary. The building was soon also used by the mayor and governing body of the city, which was closely linked to the guild. It continued to be the city’s centre of administration until construction of the Council House was completed 1917. It hosted many royal visits and a royal prisoner – Mary Queen of Scots. More interesting historical facts about the Guildhall can be found on Coventry City Council’s website.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 5

Bablake School by Edith Gittins

Edith Gittins (1845 to 1910)
Bablake School
1868 – 1887

Edith Gittins was a social reformer who campaigned for women’s rights. She founded the Leicester Women’s Liberal Association and was an active member of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 4

Jordan Well, Coventry by Sydney Bunney, 1916

Sydney Bunney (1877 to 1928)
Jordan Well, Coventry
June 8 1916

Sydney Bunney is best known for his accurate views of Coventry streets and buildings, painted between the 1890s and his death. The Herbert has over five hundred of his pencil and watercolour drawings of Coventry.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 3

 

Bayley Lane and 'The Cottage', Coventry by Herbert Cox, 1918

What do you think these men are talking about?

Herbert Cox (1869 to 1941)
Bayley Lane and ‘The Cottage’, Coventry
1918

Bayley Lane is one of the oldest streets in Coventry. The name was in use in the 1200s and probably comes from the bailey or outer defences of the castle which stood in this area in the 1100s and 1200s.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wonderful Watercolours Sneak Peek 2

Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford Upon Avon by William Quatremain

William Wells Quatremain (about 1858 to 1930)
Old Clopton Bridge, Stratford upon Avon
1919

Old Clopton Bridge, which has fourteen arches, was built about 1490. It still carries the main road over the River Avon.

William Quatremain also painted some views of Stratford for a popular booklet entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon’ by J. Salmon, Art Printer, Sevenoaks. Quatremain had a bicycle adapted to carry his paint box, easel and stool.

This watercolour and many others will be on display in Wonderful Watercolours: Views of Coventry and Warwickshire. The exhibition runs from 25 February to 22 July 2012 at the Herbert. Entry is free.

Wiki, water & watercolours

More routine, more roof repairs, more photography – more of everything, really, but some new themes as well, just to liven things up. On 1st October, two of us had groups round the conservation studio as part of the Wikimedia Back Stage Pass event. We felt this was very successful both for The Herbert as a whole, and for ourselves with the level of interest for conservation (not that it’s a competition…..). It was an enjoyable day, with an added bonus of finding the hairdryer and anti-static brush we though lost, whilst tidying. There’s still more to be done on that score, but sadly I don’t see where the (still missing) beam balance could possibly be hiding – that one must really be on loan, not just pretending like the hair-drier… In case you’re wondering, the hairdryer is for hot air, and the brush is for stopping dust getting over-attracted to nice clean flat plastic surfaces you’re about to shut away. You never know what you may have to do down here!

Talking of lost items, I raided the long-lost-property bag for a couple of emergency response training sessions. Add random items from home, out of date marketing leaflets and some apparently potential hazards, place in a large trough with water, and watch your colleagues retrieve them. Very interesting personality test – including on myself; by the third session I’d accustomed myself to deliberately tipping water over most things, but didn’t progress as far as dunking the much washed cute, cuddly leopard cub that some poor parent is bearing the brunt of loosing. I’ve never had to retrieve objects for real or run a practical training session before so we were all learning together, and now I’ve a pile more stuff to do to improve our emergency preparedness, and a leopard that keeps mysteriously moving around the studio…

Drying out after emergency response plan training

The next major project is to prepare for a large watercolour exhibition in Feb. This has rather crept up on me under cover from a number of unexpected happenings why have had to take priority, but really does have to be started – immediately after I’ve sent this. Work will involve cutting mounts, hinging watercolours, possibly dry cleaning and such like. My training is in archives conservation, so I’m not really used to playing about with pigments, but many of the techniques are similar, or require the same skills applied slightly differently. Even so, I was rather relieved that we managed to raise funds to have work on the William Brooke album done by a private Works on Paper conservator. 10 items were removed and cleaned by her, and I mounted a selection of these for an event a couple of weeks ago, re-acquainting myself with the mount cutter – I still need to learn its angle of minimum effort, but at least I know what I’m aiming at now! Many of the items are listed as only requiring a check over, but who knows what this will find – the first 2 taken at random have horridly acidic backboards which should really be removed, but I’d best see what the total of these is rather than diving in on those two and then finding there’s no time for ones which are discolouring the image. The idea is to use a poultice to hold moisture against the board, then strip it off in layers; usually the adhesives will be water softenable on older items. It’s a while since I’ve done anything of that nature, so I think a practice session is in order – there’s a nasty, mouldering apprentice indenture that’s been a skeleton in the drawer for years which should be just the job. Lovely!

Object of the Month – June 2011

Stratford-on-Avon
1890
By William Holman Hunt (1827 to 1910)
Watercolour

This view of the river at Stratford-on-Avon is by the famous Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt. Hunt wrote a letter to his wife in which he described the subject as ‘a lovely one’ and explained that he was having problems with the changeable weather. However he seems to have completed the watercolour from memory and imagination, adding such details as the punt and the swimming dog later. The painting demonstrates Hunt’s distinctive use of bright colours to obtain a vivid effect.

This watercolour may well have been made as a study for the landscape background of Hunt’s late masterpiece, The Lady of Shalott, which he finally completed in 1905. The landscape reflected in the mirror in the centre of that picture includes a winding river and a green meadow similar to those in the watercolour. The Lady of Shalott is on display at Manchester Art Gallery.

This watercolour painting is currently on loan to the exhibition The Pre-Raphaelites and William Morris; Artists, Designers and Craftsmen, which is touring museums and galleries in Japan. It is due to come back to the Herbert later this year and will be featured in an exhibition of watercolour views of Coventry and Warwickshire opening at the Herbert in February 2012.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Pre-Raphaelites, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery has an online Pre-Raphaelite resource: http://www.preraphaelites.org/.

New Acquisitions 2010

Every year the Herbert adds more objects and works of arts to its collections. These are usually donated by members of the public, but one or two are purchased or in the case of archaeology, excavated.

We have an Acquisition and Disposal Policy which sets out the type of things that we collect.  We always refer to this policy before deciding whether to acquire something.

So what were the highlights of our collecting in 2010?

The most high-profile are works of art purchased as part of the Collecting Cultures project. These works are all on the subject of peace and reconciliation and have been bought using money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Fund and a small amount of our own funding. Among these is Belsen Head, by Raymond Mason. Mason created this haunting sculpture shortly after the Allies liberated the concentration camp at Belsen in 1945. Items acquired as part of the Collecting Cultures project will be shown in an exhibition here in 2012.

In July we were given a Sunday School banner and a hymn book from the Methodist chapels in north Coventry. The banner came from Alderman’s Green Methodist Church and was carried in church processions. The hymn book was presented to Bell Green Methodist chapel by in 1839 by John Arlidge, who was the manager of nearby Wyken Colliery.

Our More Than Two Tones Exhibition, 2009

Also in July we were given a collection of medals and documents with a fascinating story behind them. They relate to Antonio Obis, who was a Spanish citizen who fought for the republicans in the Spanish Civil War. When the republicans were defeated he was exiled to France. In the Second World War he was recruited into the British Army and served in the Commandoes. After the war he settled in Coventry.

Following on from last year’s successful More Than Two Tones exhibition, Ray King gave us the green corduroy waistcoat and trousers that he wore on stage in the 1960s. Ray was one of the first successful black singers in Britain. He helped to introduce ska music to Britain and had a big influence on the Two Tone movement.

William H. Brooke - Old Bailey Lane

Finally, something that we haven’t yet acquired. We have been offered the chance to buy an album of watercolours of Coventry painted between 1819 and 1820 by William Henry Brooke. This is probably one of the most important single collections of images of historic Coventry. The album contains views of many key buildings, including Whitefriars Monastery and St Mary’s Hall, with detailed studies of architectural features, such as stained glass windows and carved stone work. Many of the buildings shown have now been demolished.

We are now trying to raise the money to buy this album. We need to raise £12,000 to purchase it and make it ready for display. If you would like to help, please make a donation online here

or send a donation to:

Coventry Heritage & Arts Trust Ltd (FAO Emma Maclellan Head of Development)
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry CV1 5QP

Huw Jones, Keeper of Collections
Add to DeliciousAdd to DiggAdd to FaceBookAdd to Google BookmarkAdd to RedditAdd to StumbleUponAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Twitter

%d bloggers like this: