Burton Art Gallery – April.

April is such a cheerful month, with everything springing to life; colour takes over from the greys of winter, the sun rises higher and gives us some warmth, most welcome.

Colour is an important feature of the art of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, whose etchings, linocuts and lithography are on show at the Gallery this month, continuing until 14th May. Wilhelmina worked with other printmakers, such as Stanley Jones and Kip Gresham, and started the Gaal Press when she was 86 with Carol Robertson and Robert Adam. She died in 2004, but her art lives on in this touring exhibition.

This is also the time of year when the Friends of the Burton Art Gallery hold their Annual General Meeting, and this year we have invited Nick Arnold, author of Horrible Histories, to be our speaker. He has done a great deal of research into a battle which took place right here in Northam, in 1069. ‘The Battle of Northam – 1069 and All That’ will reveal what actually happened all those years ago, when William the Conqueror was King, mottes and baileys (like the one at Barnstaple) were being built, and bloody battles were being fought. The date of the A.G.M. is Saturday, 15th April; the Friends’ meeting begins at 10.30 a.m., all are welcome. Contact the Gallery on 01237 471455 if you are not a member, but wish to attend.

You may have noticed that the planters in front of the Gallery are once again filled with colour and life. This is thanks to Anne, a volunteer at Marwood Gardens, We thank her most sincerely for this.

The Craft Gallery is always full of beautiful works of art. South Molton ceramist, Taz Pollard has her Showcase throughout April until 15th May.

Children are not forgotten. ‘Crafty Kids‘ for pre-school children meet on Mondays from 10am to 12pm, with paint, paper, sponges and crayons. £1 donation per session. Older children from 7-11 ( the Young Friends) meet on the last Saturday of each month (except August and December) to have a fun time creating arty things. The Friends founded the Young Friends in 1994, and are happy to continue with funding.

The Gallery opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, and Sunday, 11am to 4pm.

The Cafe du Parc is open at the same time, and is always a popular venue for coffee, lunch and teatime. 01237 429317 – if you wish to book one of their special late opening nights on the first Friday of the month.

Diana Warmington. Friends of the Burton Art Gallery & Museum.


Master printmaker Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s work ‘comes home’ to southwest.

Renowned abstract printmaker-artist, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, will this week have 59 of her prints exhibited in the region that was a formative influence on her life and work.

From March 25 – May 4, The Burton at Bideford is proud to be exhibiting a range of original prints by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, covering a period from 1950 to 2003.

One of the original and multi-talented Crypt Group and Penwith Society of Arts, Barns-Graham was born in St. Andrews, Fife in 1912, but moved to Cornwall in 1940 to join the group of modernist artists working at Carbis Bay near St. Ives.

This exhibition, which is curated by Ann Gunn of St Andrews University and is titled “A Different Way of Working: The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham”, is an amalgamation of creative printmaking techniques Barns-Graham experimented with, such as offset drawing, lino-cutting, etching, lithography and screen-printing.

Although Barns-Graham produced a sizeable body of paintings and drawings in her sixty-seven year career (she died in January 2004 aged 91), this exhibition will chart her journey as a printmaker. She worked with some of the UK’s most renowned printers, including Kip Gresham and Stanley Jones (Curwen Press), and an extraordinary collaboration with Carol Robertson of Graal Press (Roslin, Midlothian), that she started in 1998 – aged 86 – from which she produced 65 exceptional prints, many of which will be on display at the Burton.

The exhibition itself will, unusually, take up both Gallery spaces at the Burton, and include 22 additional prints that have not previously been displayed in this exhibition.

As Barns-Graham was one of the few of her St. Ives peers to become fully involved with printmaking, it was important to the Burton’s Collections and Exhibitions Manager, Warren Collum, that the exhibition told the story of her evolving work. He said: “As well as the stunning, innovative prints and sketches in the exhibition, we’ll have many of Wilhelmina’s tools and studio materials to really give visitors an insight into how she produced her work. We’re very much looking forward to having Wilhelmina’s experimental work with us until May.”

The Chairman of the Barns-Graham Trust, Geoffrey Bertram, opened and introduced the exhibition on Saturday March 25. He will also be doing a separate “talk and tour” event on May 6 at 2pm.

Everyone is welcome to come along to “A Different Way of Working” and experience the life and artistic journey of a woman who became a master of printmaking.

Anthony Burt.


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