It’s time to celebrate some rather well known, that would be Gainsborough and Constable, and some less well known Suffolk artists. From now until 28th July 2019 there are 76 works of art displayed in the Wolsey Gallery of Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich. These works are arranged in a salon-style hang, a style first presented to the public by the formidable Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris during the 18th century.
This exhibition is perhaps one that Goldilocks would appreciate as it is neither too large nor too small. Several of the museum’s familiar favourites by Gainsborough and Constable are on show amongst paintings that have not been on public display for many years.
The earliest work in the exhibition is ‘The Entombment of Christ’ dating from the 15th century.
The gallery display is loosely chronological as you progress round the room with small groupings by theme, such as portraits or landscapes. For example, below and to the left, the pair of Constable paintings of the East Bergholt area, ‘Golding Constable’s Flower Garden’ and ‘Golding Constable’s Kitchen Garden’ are placed between Suffolk scenes of Woodbridge, Ufford and the River Deben painted by the 19th-century, Woodbridge artist, Thomas Churchyard.
Thomas Churchyard was born in Melton near Woodbridge, Suffolk in 1798. He was an artist who also worked as a solicitor in Woodbridge. Although, he was unable to support himself and his family through his creative endeavours during his lifetime, he left a legacy of paintings of local towns and villages and the Suffolk coast that now hang in art galleries around the world.
Wonder Walls also includes sketches and paintings of Ipswich in the past including a drawing of the beached whale that had lost its way and swam up the River Orwell in 1811. (The skull of this unlucky creature is now hanging from the ceiling in the Geology section of the Ipswich Museum).
Not all the art on display has a direct connection to Suffolk. There is a Walter Sickert oil painting of Bath, a Joan Miró lithograph, and, as you finish your circuit of the gallery, a Patrick Caulfield screenprint that brings us, chronologically speaking, almost to the present.
But for me this exhibition provided an opportunity to photograph a personal favourite. It normally hangs in a narrow corridor and is easily missed, but now on display in the gallery you can’t fail to notice this captivating yet somehow whistful interpretation of a very English moment.
7 thoughts on “Wonder Walls”
Thanks for the introduction to this exhibition. I keep saying I will come so this time I will really try.
Thank you for commenting. The mansion and the park are particularly attractive at this time of year. All the recent rain has made it very green.
What a truly delightful loooking exhibition. I musty try to get there, if only to see that charming looking Russell Sidney Reeve, who is unknown to me. Though to have several Gainsboroughs and Constables gathered in one place like this would be wonderful too.
Yes, Reeve was new to me before moving to Ipswich. I’m always a sucker for an unusual subject though especially anything with an interior feel.
I wondered what the colourful painting to the right of the Gainsborough landscapes was, and then all was revealed! How delightful. It would be wonderful to walk around a gallery with you and gain greater insight into the artworks. Just imagine all the hundreds of pieces sitting in the archives of galleries all around the world. So good to see them displayed.
Yes, you are so right about museums and galleries holding far more in their hidden away archives than on display. I am guessing that most of them have a policy of rotating works as was the case with your family connected painting ‘A Study in Brown’. Of course, not everything can be kept in the light all the time which means making a special request, but I think most museums these days are making more of their ‘stuff’ available online. That’s not quite like seeing it in real life, but certainly reduces need to travel and carbon footprints.
This looks so beautiful; I’d love to analyze these… Thank you for sharing! x