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British Art Network

A foreword by Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain

I am pleased to add a foreword to this newsletter, and perhaps in doing so to sketch out our first thoughts about what this network of British art can be, and what it could achieve. We want to make it clear that it is a network, first and foremost, for those professionally engaged with British art. We intend that it span the period represented by the national collection of British art, i.e. essentially the post-Reformation period, or after 1540, and to come right up to date. We presume therefore that it will primarily mirror the media on show at Tate Britain, though we would welcome exceptions and a broadening of this range. We hope that it will not only allow curators who have sole care of very large collections of British art to meet colleagues who are similarly placed, but also to share and extend expertise across the period as a whole. In this way we imagine that while some workshops might be period-specific, others, such as those on regionalism, gender, or single-artist collections, will span the range.

We hope that alongside the collections basis to the network we can encourage other specialists, notably in the academic sector, to add their voices. In the first place they can register their expertise, but we shall also hope to invite them to dedicated sessions in which collections knowledge can be brought to bear on what might be less object-based research, and vice versa. While there are various fora in existence for the professional development of art historians, or for curators, we hope that the focus on British art will provide a forum in which the two are brought purposefully together, in order to share and develop practical and academic knowledge about a specialism which is, inevitably, the backbone of the British art gallery. There has been much talk in recent years about a national collection dispersed throughout the country. On occasion this has been wishful thinking, or worse, but in this case the network seems already to enjoy considerable support and will, we hope, come to represent a more concrete and collegiate sense of what we share.


R.B. Kitaj, Errata

How to find your British art expert across the UK

We are delighted to launch a key feature of the British Art Network: The register of expertise. The register is a database of professionals engaged with British art. The register is designed to enable the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and facilitate contact between those with common interests or areas of research. The register also allows network members to locate those with expertise in areas in which they may have an interest but not specialist knowledge. A downloadable, searchable PDF of the register is available on the British Art Network webpages.

The register can be searched using a table of key terms relating to period, from the 16th and 17th century to 20th century post-1945 British art; medium, from books and costume to sculpture and video; and a wide range of genres, as well as by institution and by individual name.

The register is continually updated and we would recommend that you always refer to the live version online. Should you wish to join the register, or to update your entry, please get in touch by emailing BritishArtNetwork@tate.org.uk.

Peter Blake, The Fine Art Bit

Audio-recordings of past British Art Network event

The British Art Network’s first seminar, themed around the First World War and the forthcoming centenary, was held at Tate Britain on Friday 19 April. Led by Dr Emma Chambers, Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, London, the day encompassed a range of themes from art and pacifism to war memorials alongside offering opportunities for discussion and informal networking.

Highlights from the day included an overview of the broader centenary programme and insights into exhibition processes offered by network members sharing First World War exhibition plans and work in progress inviting comments, suggestions and discussion.

Presentations were made by Amy Barker, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums; Dr Jonathan Black, Kingston University; Grace Brockington, University of Bristol; Richard Cork; Sue Malvern, University of Reading; Beth McIntyre, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; David Morris, Whitworth Art Gallery; Richard Slocombe, Imperial War Museum and Tim Wilcox, Manchester Art Gallery.

Audio recordings of a number of the day’s presentations can be found on the British Art Network webpages.


Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, Banking at 4000 Feet

Next British Art Network event

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, the seminar will provide opportunities for discussion and networking alongside a number of academic and curatorial presentations.

To reserve your place at the seminar and to request travel funds please contact Gracie Divall, British Art Network Coordinator.

For further information please visit the British Art Network events webpage.


Richard Hamilton, My Marilyn

Events in 2014

Overlooked Victorian artists
January 2014

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.

Joseph Wright of Derby and single artists in collection

June 2014, Derby Museums

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

For further information please visit the British Art Network events webpage.


Joseph Wright of Derby, A Moonlight with a Lighthouse, Coast of Tuscany

Beyond the British Art Network

Pop and Abstract
National Museum Cardiff, until 1 September 2013

Featuring work by Peter Blake, Alan Davie, David Hockney and Bridget Riley the new collections-based display highlights the way the sixties transformed British art. For further information visit the National Museum Wales' website.

Patrick Caulfield
Tate Britain, until 1 September 2013

Celebrating Caulfield’s mastery of colour, graphic elegance, as well as his wit, this exhibition offers the chance to reassess his influences and the legacy of his approach to painting. For further information, including how to book tickets, visit Tate’s website.

‘Women and Pop Art’ symposium

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 27 September 2013

Exploring themes around women and pop art this interdisciplinary symposium aims to establish and reassess their role and contribution to the movement. For further information, including how to book your place, visit WAVE.

Eduardo Paolozzi: Collaging Culture
Pallant House Gallery, until 13 October 2013

A major retrospective of the work of Eduardo Paolozzi (1924–2005), one of the most inventive and prolific of the British artists to come to prominence after the Second World War. Featuring around 150 works in a variety of media, the exhibition will explore the extraordinary versatility of Paolozzi's approach to making art and the central importance of collage as a working process within his career, not only in the traditional sense of paper collage, but also in terms of sculptural assemblage, printmaking and filmmaking. For further information visit the Pallant House Gallery website.

British Modern Art II 1948–68: Pop Art

Christies, 23–25 October 2013

A gallery-based course exploring the vivid development of British pop art between 1948 and 1968. Works by Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, David Hockney, Pauline Boty and Allen Jones among others will be closely studied in the ‘Britpop’ exhibition at Christies, and complemented by visits to Tate Britain and Tate Modern. For further information, including how to book your place, visit the Christie’s website.

Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, until 16 November 2013

The first public exhibition to survey Pauline Boty’s career as a whole; a key member of the British pop art movement Boty’s work both celebrates and critiques mass cultural experience, exploring themes of female sexuality, gender, race and politics. For further information, including how to book tickets, visit WAVE.

Coming soon:

Pop Art Design

Barbican Art Gallery, 22 October 2013–9 February 2014

Brash, colourful and playful, pop art was a movement that signaled a radical change of direction in the postwar period. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s pop was characterised by an intense dialogue between the fields of design and art. Pop Art Design is the first comprehensive exhibition to explore the origins, motives and methods of this exchange. Alongside iconic and lesser known works by over seventy artists and designers the exhibition also presents a wealth of graphic material from posters and magazines to album sleeves, as well as film, photography and documentation of pop interiors and architecture. For further information visit the Barbican website.


Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Conjectures to Identity

By Nigel Llewellyn, Head of Research, Tate

Having launched “Your Paintings”, its catalogue of the nation's oil paintings, the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) is now exploiting the interactive potential of its online database by setting up OPEN. This system will allow individuals to submit opinions and information which may end up as published revisions or additions to the catalogue entries on particular works that appear on “Your Paintings”, which have already attracted vast numbers of users and enquiries.

OPEN uses an innovative mix of human skills and judgements and technical ingenuity. Visitors to “Your Paintings” will be invited to submit their observations and advice online, for example: ‘the picture called Unknown Sitter is, in fact my grandmother’, or ‘the date given cannot be correct; that church spire wasn’t built until 20 years later’, or ‘the picture hanging in the kitchen corridor and catalogued as “Anon Artist” reminds me of a work I have seen attributed to William Dobson’.

Enquiries such as these will be filtered by PCF staff in London and Glasgow and then passed on to one of a network of small expert panels, each one convened around a specialist topic – Maritime, Scotland, Italian Renaissance, etc. The panel will discuss the suggestions made and examine the supportive evidence and make a recommendation to an overarching senior panel chaired by Professor David Ekserdjian. This will make a final recommendation to the owners of the work concerned.

Permission will then be sought for the “Your Paintings” entry to be changed to accommodate the new information or opinion.

The wireframes of an online “OPEN Comment” system are now being tested and Andrew Ellis, Director of the PCF, expects to launch OPEN within the year.

For more information see the OPEN website.

A Painter's Self-Portrait

Should you have any comments or wish to contribute to the content of the next newsletter please email BritishArtNetwork@tate.org.uk.

The British Art Network is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

If you have any questions or want to update your contact details please contact Gracie Divall,
British Art Network Coordinator, via Gracie.Divall@tate.org.uk or +44 (0)20 7887 8702.

Top image: R.B. Kitaj, Errata 1963-4, Screenprint on paper, image: 746 x 508 mm, Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 © The estate of R. B. Kitaj
Second image: 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
Third image: Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, Banking at 4000 Feet 1917, Lithograph on paper, image: 403 x 316 mm, Presented by the Ministry of Information 1918 © Tate
Fourth image: Richard Hamilton, My Marilyn 1965, Screenprint on paper, image: 518 x 632 mm, Acquisition Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 © The estate of Richard Hamilton
Fifth image: Joseph Wright of Derby, A Moonlight with a Lighthouse, Coast of Tuscany ?exhibited 1789, Oil paint on canvas, support: 1016 x 1276 mm frame: 1155 x 1440 x 95 mm, Purchased 1949 © Tate
Sixth image: Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Conjectures to Identity 1963-4, From The Institute of Contemporary Arts Portfolio, Screenprint on paper, image: 756 x 495 mm, Acquisition Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 © The estate of Eduardo Paolozzi
Last image: British (?) School 19th Century, A Painter's Self-Portrait date not known, Oil paint on canvas, support: 597 x 495 mm, Bequeathed by Lady Haversham 1929 © Tate

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