Arts & Crafts: looking back, moving forward
15 January – 27 March 2011
The importance of Cheltenham’s Arts and Crafts Movement collection is now recognised worldwide. In 2010 the Art Gallery & Museum secured funding from MLA’s Designation Development Fund to redisplay the Arts and Crafts Movement gallery and expand the space given to Arts and Crafts material with a new open storage gallery. As part of the same project, the Art Gallery & Museum has also been able to start work on digitising the Arts and Crafts library of Emery Walker, and will relaunch its Arts and Crafts website in March. The exhibition gives a preview of the Art Gallery & Museum’s plans and showcases some of our newest additions to the Arts and Crafts collection.
Highlights include never before exhibited pieces. Cheltenham has been very lucky in acquiring a number of pieces from the families of leading Arts and Crafts designers. There are pieces given directly from Ernest Gimson’s family, including an oak chest of drawers and a veneered corner cupboard designed by Gimson and made at his workshop in Sapperton, near Cirencester. From the family of C R Ashbee comes an early piece made by the Guild of Handicraft, a table that was first in Ashbee’s mother’s house in London in the 1890s, and has been in the family ever since. Amongst other items featured are pieces by ceramic artist Alfred Powell, the Della Robbia Pottery, and furniture by Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson.
Also on display are books from the Emery Walker Library that will be featured in a new section about the Private Press Movement on the relaunched Arts and Crafts website. A virtual library has been created, allowing visitors to virtually turn the pages of some of the Library’s most beautiful and important books, and for the first time, the Art Gallery & Museum’s Arts and Crafts collections database will be available for visitors to search online.
Kirsty Hartsiotis, Curator, Decorative Arts & Designated Collection says:
We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to redisplay our Arts and Crafts collection, both in the gallery and online, thanks to the Designation Development Fund. We know, too, that without the goodwill of donors over the years we would not have the collection of national importance we have today, and are very pleased to showcase some of our most recent acquisitions in this display.
For further details please contact Kirsty Hartsiotis, Curator, Decorative Arts & Designated Collections, or Anna Stanway, Marketing & Information Officer, Tel: 01242-237431.