Temporary Exhibitions Room
The Temporary Exhibitions Gallery showcases our main social history exhibitions, with five or so exhibitions staged annually.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Bainbridge Copnall's Horsham 1913-1934
16 May to 20 July 2013
The vagaries of the art market and the idiosyncrasies of the collectors’ world are revealed in two amazing exhibitions that open at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibitions, ‘The Artist as a Young Man: Bainbridge Copnall in Horsham, 1913-1934’ and ‘Abstract adventurer: John Copnall of Slinfold,’ explore the incredible artistic talents of gifted father and son, yet their work is out of fashion. But as the exhibitions reveal, just because they are ignored by the current art world does not mean they have no importance, for in their day they were part of the artistic culture of Britain.
Bainbridge Copnall came to Horsham with his father, the celebrated photographer. He attended the local grammar school and from there entered the art world. He knew and was known by the Millais family, who had come to Horsham at the end of the 19th century. In his early years he was a prolific artist, painting portraits as well as exploring ideas through paintings. It was while in Horsham he took up sculpting, a field he excelled at, being commissioned to carve wooden panels for the SS Queen Mary state room. However his Horsham years were dominated by the paint brush, creating works of art that today resonate with the tones and look of the early 20th century. His most well-known picture, and one that garnered critical acclaim when shown at the Royal Academy in London, is Whither which was bought by another out of flavour artist Philip Padwick and given by him to Horsham and the museum. It is the centrepiece of an exhibition that combines his paintings, with photographs, ephemera and other contemporary works by Horsham artists mentioned in his autobiography: his patron and friend Padwick, his sporting Doctor Geoffrey Sparrow, and Millais. Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery is the only museum or art gallery in the country that holds any of his oil paintings, so this is a rare opportunity to see his work.