Wilhelmina Barns-Graham at Pallant House Gallery

I was delighted to write about three works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004) in the collection of Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, on the theme of travel.

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004), Snow at Wharfedale II, 1957
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester: Presented by the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust
through the Art Fund (c) Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust

Like parents, curators shouldn’t have favourite artists, but Wilhelmina Barns-Graham is one of mine. Born in St Andrews, Fife, she trained at Edinburgh College of Art before moving to Cornwall in 1940. There she became a member of what is now known as the St Ives School. Barns-Graham went on to establish a reputation as a pioneer of British Abstraction. In 1960 she inherited a house outside St Andrews. Thereafter she straddled both the Scottish and English art worlds. I served two terms as a Trustee of the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust. Barns-Graham established it to promote her legacy and to support Scottish artists. The Trust is based in Edinburgh and amongst its resources is Barns-Graham’s library, which contains some fascinating titles.

Having worked with them in the past, I also have a soft spot for Simon Martin and his team at Pallant House Gallery. They do a fantastic job programming collection displays and exhibitions with an emphasis on Modern British Art.

In my article ‘From Cornwall to Switzerland: The Travels of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham‘ I looked at works depicting locations in St Ives, the Yorkshire Dales and the Grindelwald Glaciers in Switzerland. It made me yearn to travel after these long lockdown months!

If you’d like to find out more about Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, then you might enjoy my ‘The Work of Art‘ blog. If you’ve got the travel bug, you might also enjoy my ‘The Great Escape‘ blog. Happy reading!

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