A Fragile Beauty: Art on the Blackdown Hills 1909 to 1925 captures the atmosphere of this Somerset and Devon borderland in a period when the First World War was changing English society forever.
The Camden Town Group, led by Walter Sickert, was inspired by daily life in the capital but then was also drawn to the countryside, especially the Blackdown Hills. Inspired by the example of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, artists such as Spencer Gore, Charles Ginner and Robert Bevan created Somerset and Devon landscape paintings of great freshness and immediacy.
Explaining Lawrences’ connection with the Museum of Somerset, the saleroom’s managing director Helen Carless says the auction house “held a highly successful sale here last spring which comprised pictures donated by various generous supporters of the museum”. The auction included works by artists as varied as Albert Goodwin, Walter Greaves, Fred Hall and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, yielded over £18,000 for the museum and helped to get the exhibition under way.
A Fragile Beauty… is the first major exhibition at the Museum of Somerset to rely entirely on loans from other museums.
The show includes works from the Ulster Museum and Manchester Art Gallery, as well as pictures from private collections that have rarely been seen in public.
Lawrences’ picture specialist Richard Kay will give an hour-long illustrated talk on the life of Walter Sickert, entitled Celebrated but Seedy, at the museum on April 27 at 7.30pm.
Tickets are £15 per person with cheese and wine. Booking is required: contact the museum on 01823 255088.