The Craft gallery features current work by some of the best of the District's craftsmen and women, including ceramics, glassware, tapestries and woodworking.
Japanese treasures: Cloisonné Enamels from the V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum coming to Horsham is not wishful thinking by the Curator of Horsham District Council’s town museum. It is really happening and what is more the Museum are going to have on display some of the finest, most jewel-like objects ever made. This is due to the generosity of Mr Edwin Davies CBE who gave his outstanding collection of Japanese Cloisonné enamels to the 'V&A'. It was also his vision that a selection of items should tour the country and with the help of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, it is being made a reality. Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery is just one of ten venues nationwide that will be able to display these masterpieces of Japanese art and craft.
Horsham, an ancient market town noted for its stone roofs in the heart of Sussex, may seem a strange venue to host such an exhibition. Yet at the very same time the Japanese were creating these highly sophisticated superbly designed masterpieces residents of the town were visiting the remote lands. Robert Henderson and his wife Emma, who lived at Sedgwick Park, toured Japan, as the old order was being subsumed in a dash to modernise. They brought back photographs of the people and places to remind them, some of these will be on display. The exhibition itself would not have been possible without the good will and support of the local community including the auction house Toovey’s.
The golden Age of Japanese Cloisonné occurred at the same time that the west became infatuated with all things Japanese. A sign of this popularity was the celebrated light opera ‘The Mikado’ by Gilbert and Sullivan. The Japanese naturally expanded their export industry to match the demand from the west, which unfortunately led to a rapid decline in standard and quality. By the end of the 19th century it was no longer seen as a collector’s item, or a worthy craft in the West. However in Japan Cloisonné was still made for the imperial household and the domestic market.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world's greatest art and design museum, based at Kensington, and has been collecting Japanese Cloisonné since 1867.
The exhibition Japanese Treasures: Cloisonné Enamels from the V&A is a unique opportunity to see an internationally important art form in Horsham. The display at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery runs from 15 June to 22 September 2013.