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