Displaying Art in Domestic Settings

Thomas Gainsborough, 'Giovanna Baccelli' exhibited 1782

Thomas Gainsborough
Giovanna Baccelli exhibited 1782
Oil on canvas
support: 2267 x 1486 mm frame: 2810 x 1830 x 155 mm
Purchased with assistance from the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1975

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Monday 13 July 2015, 11.00–17.00
Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk

Historic house museums and galleries face the shared challenge of how to display their collections to the visiting public. Ensuring that these kinds of spaces are used to their best advantage – both practically and intellectually – is not always straightforward. Organisations like Gainsborough’s House, which are recognised as the birthplace or home of an artist, face the additional question of how to display and interpret that individual’s work in a space implicitly connected with their life, or what we know of their biography. Potential strategies may include the re-creation of period rooms or domestic studios to create an immersive visitor experience; alternatively, the historic setting may be approached more neutrally, as a more conventional museum or gallery space. This British Art Network seminar will bring together curators and academics who have had to deal with some of these issues in a variety of contexts, across an array of British art historical periods and disciplines.

Audiences, Authority and Collaboration in Museum Research

A Joint Subject Specialist Network Seminar

12–13 March 2015
Tate Britain, The National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery

This two-day seminar represents a collaboration between three Subject Specialist Networks; the  British Art NetworkEuropean paintings pre-1900; and the Understanding British Portraits network. It will seek to examine and investigate a range of subjects relevant to museum professionals and their collections through three overarching subjects: audiences for research, the role of cataloguing and research collaborations.

Mark Wallinger, 'Half-Brother (Exit to Nowhere - Machiavellian)' 1994-5

Mark Wallinger
Half-Brother (Exit to Nowhere - Machiavellian) 1994-5
Oil on canvas
displayed: 2300 x 3000 x 35 mm
Purchased 1995© Mark Wallinger

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British Sporting Art Seminar

6 February 2015, 10.30–16.45, The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, Newmarket

For decades, the genre of British sporting art has existed on the periphery of modern art historical discourse. To coincide with the development of a National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, due to open in Newmarket in spring 2016, the British Art Network hosted a seminar dedicated to the examination of what seems to have become a marginalised genre of British Art. A selection of five to ten minute presentations raised key questions and introduced topics as a starting point for discussion. Primarily how do you define the genre of sporting art and who can qualify as a sporting artist? Although sporting art is traditionally understood to encompass rural pursuits, predominantly in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, how do we define the parameters of the genre, both chronologically and thematically? Finally, how does this niche genre relate to the wider sphere of British art? We hope that the day of presentations and extensive round-table discussion helped to provoke new interest in the genre and highlights the rich research potential that this area of British art can offer.

Programmed by Dr Cicely Robinson, Assistant Curator (British Sporting Art), National Horseracing Museum, in collaboration with Tabitha Barber, Curator, British Art 1550–1750, Tate.

Richard Hamilton, 'Chromatic spiral' 1950

Richard Hamilton
Chromatic spiral 1950
Oil on wood
support: 543 x 485 mm
Presented anonymously 1998© The estate of Richard Hamilton

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Basic Design and The Hatton Gallery: Researching, Displaying and Sharing Archival Resources

21 November 2014, 11.00–17.00, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University

This seminar, supported by the John Ellerman Foundation, will take the revolutionary teaching known as Basic Design and the related display on view at the Hatton Gallery as a starting point for a day of presentations and discussion on the way in which researchers, curators and art institutions use, present and share archival material with their audiences.

Speakers will discuss their research into the history of Basic Design teaching, addressing the methodological challenges they encountered and the insight they gained from working with archival material. There will be short case study presentations from academics and curators who will examine the way in which their research, curatorial projects and education activities have been shaped around the archive as a living, nonlinear and discursive site. The day will also offer a chance to discuss different approaches to making archives accessible via exhibitions, digitisation, publication and learning and participation activities.

Programmed by Elena Crippa, Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art, Tate, in collaboration with Rob Airey, Keeper of Art, Hatton Gallery.

William Hogarth, 'The Painter and his Pug' 1745

William Hogarth
The Painter and his Pug 1745
Oil on canvas
support: 900 x 699 mm
Purchased 1824

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William Hogarth’s Triptych For St Mary Redcliff: How to Deal With Enormous Artworks in Public Collections

Friday 10 October 2014, 10.30–17.00

St Nicholas Church and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

This seminar will focus on the prevailing challenges exceptionally large artworks in public collections pose for conservation, display and interpretation. The day will take its starting point from William Hogarth’s Triptych for St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, and the mismatch between its great art historical relevance and almost complete absence from public and even academic consciousness. Speakers will introduce a number of case studies exploring the challenges posed by large artworks, ranging from the Rijksmuseum’s highly successful new displays of seventeenth century Dutch masterpieces, such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch, to the National Trust’s recent conservation of painted ceilings in Kingston Lacy and Ightham Mote. We hope the seminar will inspire new ways of thinking about an old problem. 

Programmed by Dr Jenny Gaschke, Curator of Fine Art, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in collaboration with Martin Myrone, Lead Curator, pre-1800 British Art, Tate.

Joseph Wright of Derby, 'An Iron Forge' 1772

Joseph Wright of Derby
An Iron Forge 1772
Oil on canvas
support: 1213 x 1320 mm frame: 1458 x 1570 x 123 mm
Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1992

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Joseph Wright of Derby and single artists in collections

Monday 30 June 2014, 11.00–17.00
Derby Museums 

This seminar will explore questions and issues around ‘single artist collections’ ;– the in-depth holdings of key individual artists which can be found in many museums and galleries across the UK. Often of international importance, these collections are major assets and a focus for public and scholarly interest. Some of these collections can rightly be considered as the foundation of world-class centres for the study and appreciation of key figures from art history. But these collections also bring challenges, in terms of presentation, administration, interpretation and research. Using the collection of Joseph Wright’s work at Derby Museums as a starting point, the day will explore these questions and challenges. Sharing their individual experiences and case studies are speakers from Gainsborough’s House, Watts Gallery, York Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield, and Derby Museums, alongside independent scholars with research interests in the field.

In addition, there will be an opportunity to visit the exhibition Joseph Wright in Bath (Derby Museum and Art Gallery, 25 May to 30 August 2014, in partnership with the Holburne Museum, Bath).

Programmed by Lucy Bamford, Keeper of Art, Derby Museums in collaboration with Martin Myrone, Lead Curator, pre 1900 British Art, Tate.

 

Arthur Boyd Houghton, 'Lady with a Book' circa 1860

Arthur Boyd Houghton
Lady with a Book circa 1860
Oil on canvas
support: 241 x 190 mm
Presented by Mrs E.C. Davis 1926

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Overlooked Victorian artists

Manchester Art Gallery
Thursday 16 January 2014, 11.00–17.00

This seminar will look at the case of Victorian artists, male and female, who were well-known in their day but have since come to occupy a marginal position in the history of British art. We will examine the historiographic and museological reasons for their neglect and consider how far new approaches to curating and research may help rehabilitate reputation.

Programmed by Professor Liz Prettejohn, Head of Department and Professor of History of Art, University of York and Rebecca Milner, Curator: Collections Access (Fine Art), Manchester Art Gallery in collaboration with Alison Smith, Lead Curator, 19th Century British Art, Tate.

Peter Blake, 'The Fine Art Bit' 1959

Peter Blake
The Fine Art Bit 1959
Enamel, wood relief and collage on board
support: 914 x 610 x 25 mm
Purchased 1970© Peter Blake 2002. All rights reserved, DACS

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British Pop Art Seminar

Tate Britain, Manton Studio
Monday 23 September 2013, 11.00–17.00

A one-day seminar on British pop art for members of the British Art Network.

Programmed by Marguerite Nugent, Head of Curatorial Services, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Gemma Yates, Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield, in collaboration with Chris Stephens, Head of Displays and Lead Curator Modern British Art, Tate Britain.

Exploring and examining areas of potential research and exhibitions the seminar will provide opportunities for discussion and networking alongside a number of academic and curatorial presentations. Speakers include:

Flavia Figeri, Assistant Curator of Tate Modern’s global Pop Show; Anthea Hamilton, Artist, discussing the influence of Pop art on her practice with a particular focus on the work of Allen Jones; Marco Livingstone; David Mellow, Professor of History of Art, University of Sussex; and Marguerite Nugent and Brendan Flynn, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, presenting their Pop collection and programming strategy.

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, 'Banking at 4000 Feet' 1917

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson
Banking at 4000 Feet 1917
Lithograph on paper
image: 403 x 316 mm
Presented by the Ministry of Information 1918

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British Art Network Seminar – First World War

Tate Britain, Auditorium
Friday 19 April 2013, 11.00–17.00

A one-day seminar on British art and the First World War at Tate Britain for members of the British Art Network.

The first British Art Network seminar is based around the First World War. Led by Dr Emma Chambers, Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, London, and with contributions from other network members, the seminar will combine an academic element with the chance to share information about individual collections and future exhibition projects.

The day will include the following presentations:

  • Dr Sue Malvern: Witnessing and Testimony
  • Richard Cork: Dance of Death: Young British Artists in the First World War
  • Dr Jonathan Black: The Face of Death / Faces of the Dead: The Image of the Dead ‘Tommy’ in British First World War Memorial Sculpture
  • Grace Brockington: Art and Pacifism in the First World War

Alongside a number of programme presentations and opportunities for discussion.