Friday, 10 July 2009

Children's Art Day with artist Jill Carter

On 9 July Jill Carter, photographer and filmmaker worked with children from King William Street School taking inspiration from the Gilbert and George 'Four Knights' picture. The children performed a range of characters such as lords and ladies dressing up in appropriate costumes. They clustered together while in character to form a composite picture. Jill took photographs of the children at various stages of the event and will later use the material to create an artist's film, which will be on display in the art gallery.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A Missing Manet?

Antal Neville, a student at The American University of Paris, emailed to find out if we have a painting by Manet previously owned by HJP Bomford. Mr Bomford generously donated a number of important pictures to our collection but unfortunately not the Manet painting.

If you would like to know more:

Antal is taking part in a research project for The Letters of Samuel Beckett, the first volume of which was published in February by Cambridge University Press. In one of his letters, dated from August 1848, Beckett mentions having seen a painting by Manet entitled "Madame Manet dans la Serre" at the Living Art Exhibition at the National College of Art in Dublin, which took place from Aug 11 to Sept 12 1948. Antal has tracked down this painting to the National Gallery in Oslo, but according to their records it hasn't left Oslo since the 1930's. However, it appears that there may have been a duplicate painted by Edouard Vibert, Madame Manet's nephew, which was owned by H.J.P. Bomford in 1957. I know that many paintings from the Bomford collection were on display at the Living Art Exhibition.

If you know the current location of the painting please let me know and I will pass the information on to Antal.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Donation of John Maltby Ceramic

Mike Yates came to the gallery today for the official handover of the John Maltby ceramic Site Seers (Greece) 2006 which he has most generously donated to the Swindon Collection of Studio Ceramics. The work is on display in the exhibition Necessary Pots: Studio Pottery in the
South West.

The exhibition showcases a selection of key studio potters from the South West region and includes pots by Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, who was based at Coleshill near Swindon, and works by David Leach, Hans Coper and other influential ceramicists based in the West Country.

The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with Kirsty Hartsiotis, Decorative Arts Curator from Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. Cheltenham Art Gallery has loaned two ceramics, a cider jar and jug, by Michael Cardew from Winchcombe pottery in Gloucestershire.

Swindon Museum & Art Gallery started collecting studio pottery in 1965 and continues to collect works, such as our most recent acquisition, John Maltby's Site Seers (Greece) 2006, donated by Swindon based collector and author, Mike Yates.

For further information, contact Barbara Dixon on and 01793 466560. Swindon Museum & Art Gallery Tel. 01793 466556.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

GCSE Colouring Books

Students from the John of Gaunt School have combined drawings inspired by Jake and Dinos Chapman with outline drawings from children's colouring books to make their own surreal compositions.

The workshop led by Brian Britton, former Head of Art at Ridgeway School and now freelance educationalist, is linked to GCSE Art and Design programmes. The young people study the works in the Chapmans' touring exhibition on show in the art gallery and draw on Surrealism and Dada to create their own artworks through drawing and collage.

Tamar McCreary, Art Teacher, said the workshop is 'invaluable experience for art students, with superb guidance and linked directly to their project. The students learned a huge amount and were completely engaged with the art works'.

Other members of staff accompanying the students were Emma Palmer and Julia Davey. Emma is a Teaching Assistant who is doing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education with Plymouth University.

Julia will be teaching a BTEC course at Cirencester College from September. She said, 'It's a really lovely workshop for the course I am starting to run. It will tie in with the units I will be teaching. This kind of thing can draw a lot out of the students'

Julia expressed interest in the portraits workshops which will be available from 7 July to the end of the Autumn Term 2009.

For further information on education, contact Elaine Bennett on 01793 466556 or

Friday, 19 June 2009

Art Publications - Paris and London

I've had two calls today requesting images for publications, one from Paris and the other from London.

Our painting by Roger Fry, The Black Sea Coast, 1911 will be shown in an exhibition on the Bloomsbury Group at the museum of Roubaix (France) from November 2009 to February 2010.

The Éditions Gallimard are going to publish the catalogue of the exhibition. This afternoon I received a call today from the publisher asking for a high quality picture.

I also heard from Fiona Candlin from Birkbeck College, London who has written a book entitled, Art, Museums and Touch. Fiona has requested a image of Ben Nicholson, Composition in Black and White, 1933 for inclusion in the publication.

It is always good to see our pictures reproduced in publications as it helps to raise the profile of this important collection, Swindon Collection of Modern British Art

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Monsters and Beasts

Over 140 five to seven year old children from Lethbridge School in Old Town Swindon are creating monsters and beasts in the art gallery this week and next. The children are taking inspiration from 'Jake and Dinos Chapman: My Colouring Book' exhibition and Maurice Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are'.

The session combines storytelling, drama and drawing

The children play picture consequences to create fantastic beasts and design their very own monsters in chalk, charcoal and pastels.

Each session finishes with a 'wild rumpus'!

If you are a teacher who would like your pupils to have a thoroughly creative time here, contact Elaine Bennett, Education Officer on 01793 466556 or

Sessions like this one are designed around school-based themes.

We also have off-the-shelf sessions on Art, the Egyptians and Romans.

Jake and Dinos Chapman: My Giant Colouring Book is a Hayward Touring Exhibition, from Southbank Centre, London, on behalf of Arts Council, England.

For further information about Lethbridge School:

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Jake and Dinos Chapman's work comes to Swindon

Jake and Dinos Chapman: My Giant Colouring Book exhibition opened in Swindon on Saturday 30 May at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

A series of etchings with dark undercurrents, montrous creatures, and fantastic landscapes, based loosely on join-the-dots drawings from children's picture books. The 21 etchings, published by the Paragon Press, London in 2004, offer a fascinating insight into the imaginations of two of Britain's most inventive and subversive artists.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 30 May to Saturday 27 June and admission is free.
This is a Hayward Touring exhibition, from Southbank Centre, London, on behalf of Arts Council, England.

Jake and Dinos Chapman's work is being shown alongside pictures from the Swindon Collection of Modern Art including works by Maggi Hambling, Timothy Hyman, Lucian Freud, Eileen Cooper, Paul Gough, William Roberts, Louis le Brocquy and more.

For further information, visit