Peo­ple and places

Caro­line Bu­gler takes a trip to the sea­side to en­joy a panorama of mod­ern Bri­tish art

Country Life Every Week - - Exhibition -

HE Jer­wood Gallery in Hast­ings sits in the mid­dle of a south-east­ern coastal trail that en­ables you to trace the story of mod­ern Bri­tish art all the way from Turner Con­tem­po­rary in Mar­gate, Kent, to Pal­lant House in Chich­ester, West Sus­sex. It over­looks a work­ing fish­ing beach filled with boats and mar­itime para­pher­na­lia and, as you gaze out of the win­dows at the view, you be­come con­scious of a pe­cu­liarly sil­ver light that bounces off the sea and fil­ters into the gallery’s spaces.

These were spe­cially cre­ated to house the art col­lec­tion gath­ered by the chair­man of the Jer­wood Foun­da­tion, Alan Grieve. The cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion of works by 100 Bri­tish artists, span­ning 100 years, which oc­cu­pies more or less the en­tire build­ing, dis­plays Jer­wood pieces

Ta­long­side those from a sis­ter col­lec­tion of 20th-cen­tury and con­tem­po­rary Bri­tish art amassed by the me­dia en­tre­pre­neur and phi­lan­thropist Chris In­gram.

Both col­lec­tions—which con­tain paint­ings, wa­ter­colours, draw­ings and sculp­ture—were formed in a rel­a­tively short space of time and shaped by the taste of the two men who made them, which lends co­her­ence. They cover sim­i­lar ground and are both es­pe­cially strong in fig­u­ra­tive works.

If there’s a dis­tinc­tion to be made, it’s that the Jer­wood works are do­mes­tic in scale and fairly quiet in mood, whereas some in the In­gram col­lec­tion are larger and more as­sertive. How­ever, the over­all mood is gen­tle and play­ful: the clam­orous voices of Vor­ti­cism and the dis­so­nance of Con­cep­tu­al­ism find lit­tle place here. There is more to de­light than dis­turb.

The ex­hi­bi­tion wisely con­cen­trates on some pre­vail­ing themes in 20th-cen­tury Bri­tish art rather than at­tempt­ing a his­tor­i­cal sur­vey. Among the house­hold names—sick­ert, Hock­ney, Moore

Above: Dora Car­ring­ton’s Iris Tree on a Horse, painted on glass. Be­low: Small Torso by Eric Gill, both from the In­gram col­lec­tion

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