Art and craft exhibitions in our galleries change around five times a year, ranging from top quality textile exhibitions to first class photography, amazing art exhibitions and cracking craft shows. All of our exhibitions are FREE ENTRY.
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The Great CollectorTreasury Museum
Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741) was one of the greatest collectors in Britain’s history. This exhibition shows a selection of the extraordinary art, decorative crafts and fine books that he amassed.
Welbeck’s historic Portland Collection contains some of the beautiful objects which belonged to Edward Harley. The son of one of the most powerful politicians in the country, Edward Harley married Welbeck’s Henrietta Cavendish-Holles - the wealthiest heiress in Britain. On his death, many of the objects from Edward Harley’s collections were sold to the nation but a selection of items were kept and treasured by his wife and daughter.
This exhibition provides the opportunity to see these cherished objects from Edward Harley’s collection, including rare books and precious miniatures.
Explore some of the artworks
Buy the exhibition publication
Did you know? This exhibition was designed by Real Studios, who also designed the David Bowie Is.. exhibition at the V&A!
Visit to explore new exhibition 'Edward Harley: The Great Collector'
Tapestries by Jilly EdwardsMain Auditorium & Gallery 1
22 January – 23 March 2014
Jilly Edwards is one of the UK’s leading tapestry weavers. Over the course of her 40 year career, she has exhibited internationally and has tapestries in collections in the UK, USA and Japan.
These tapestries tell stories about Jilly’s journeys through different landscapes. This exhibition will include new works which, unusually for Jilly’s work, feature a vivid yellow colour palette.
‘I may produce 50 sketches/drawings but only produce a few woven tapestries. Always the work has an element of the landscape, whether I am walking to the corner shop, or at the beach or on the train travelling through unfamiliar countryside, but it’s not about the landscape, it’s about my feelings, thoughts, memories that the sights, words and sounds evoke in me.’ related events
The abstract compositions of these tapestries seem spontaneous, often like broad washes of watercolour, yet they represent a considered, lengthy making process. Jilly distils the designs for her tapestries from these vast quantities of notes and sketches, before weaving the finished work. Tapestry weaving is a time consuming and laborious process of weaving – a tapestry 10 by 12 feet in size can take over a year to complete.
Wanderlust, Series 6. (work in progress) 2013. 80 x 80cm. Photographer: Jilly Edwards
Added Value?2 April - 1 June 2014
Is Craft a new language for luxury?
Added Value? will show work by six highly skilled makers to investigate our emotional response to handmade products and to question why craft is considered valuable.
Materials Exhibiting Artists
Do the materials used make craft valuable? Diamonds, silver, slate and thread are all used by Zoe Arnold to create her jewellery installations. Although these materials vary widely in cost, rarity and sentimental value; when combined by Arnold and made into jewellery all these materials take on new meaning and value.
Perhaps the skills of the maker create value in contemporary craft? Oliver Ruuger crafts fashion accessories through labour intensive processes, combining highly skilled techniques to create luxurious objects.
Work by Simon Hasan will be on show, made in collaboration with fashion house Fendi. Does the unique nature of craft give back to luxury brands what mass production and replication take away?
The exhibition will feature shoes by carréducker, which are made to order using 200 different processes. Commissioning a bespoke craft item means that the product is personalized to your exact requirements, a luxurious, satisfying process which develops a relationship between maker and customer.
The ability to add value through experience is further explored through edible works of art by Bompas and Parr, which consider how craft provides an experience through its quality, authenticity and tactility.
Contemporary craft can be a way to make spaces more beautiful and enjoyable. Is it a vehicle to add value to everyday experiences? This idea is explored through Tracy Kendall’s elaborate handmade wallpaper; Added Value? will give you the chance to see some of her wallpaper and to discover her studio and processes.
Visit the Added Value? website
A Crafts Council Touring Exhibition
Dorchester Derby, carréducker, 2012. Photo: Nick Moss/Crafts Council
Jason Taylor11 June - 10 August 2014
Jason Taylor is an established designer who has worked on many diverse projects and commissions. He has exhibited and sold his range of lighting and furniture around the world, in art galleries and museums, as well as high street shops and design outlets, such as The Conran Shop.
He works with everyday items and transforms them in to new designs. In late 2011, Jason set himself the challenge of making a new piece of work every day of the year, throughout 2012.
Using mundane, household objects he created a vast array of witty, surprising and ingenious new designs.
The Everyday Objects will be accompanied by a new installation piece made especially for The Harley Gallery.
Visit the Everyday Objects website
A 20-21 Visual Arts Centre Touring Exhibition
Photo: Jason Taylor
The Harley Gallery Presents
A behind-the-scenes look at architecture11 June - 10 August 2014
The Harley Gallery is building a new gallery space to display objects from the historic Portland Collection of fine and decorative arts.
This exhibition will provide a view of the two-year process of designing the new building. Featuring the intricate models for this new space from architect Hugh Broughton, and exhibition designer John Ronayne as well as a specially commissioned film about the project made by Andy Abrahams.
‘The Harley Gallery Presents’ will provide visitors with an insight into the new Gallery and the processes involved in its creation.
The New Gallery. Image courtesy Arcmedia
To This I Put My Name
Claire Curneen20 August - 19 October 2014
A new body of work by internationally renowned ceramicist, Claire Curneen.
“An artist of vision and narrative whose work offers us, among many others things, a world filled with stories and their own sorrows.”
Teleri Lloyd Jones, Assistant Editor at Crafts Magazine.
The figures in To This I Put My Name are in turn serene and violent, beautiful and raw.
Drawing from religious iconography and Curneen’s study of art history at the National Museum of Ireland, these figures are the characters of myth and legend. Angels and saints are decorated with rich glazes or deep smudges of inky colour, reminiscent perhaps of fine porcelaine. Other figures are left unglazed and unadorned; like reimagined figures from Ancient Greek vases.
Claire Curneen was born in Ireland and studied in Ireland and Wales. Her work can be found in collections across the world.
This exhibition is the result of a Creative Wales Ambassador Award, Arts Council of Wales. Curneen spent time at the National Museum of Ireland and then developed her findings as resident artist at Mission Gallery, Wales.
Blue, 49 x 15cm, 2013. Photography by Dewi Tannatt Lloyd
A Bestiary of Jewels
Kevin Coates20 August - 19 October 2014
Dr. Kevin Coates is a leading artist-goldsmith and sculptor who creates extraordinary jewellery in gold, precious stones, shells, and other unusual materials. He is internationally renowned, and has work in collections across the world including the Smithsonian Institute New York, British Museum and National Museums for Scotland.
Coates’s jewellery combines his exceptional technical talent with a sense of curiosity and exploration. He is also a noted classical musician with a PhD in music, an interest which is subtly reflected in the lyricism and curiosity of his work. A Bestiary of Jewels shows a collection that is based on animals.
A poetic elaboration on the medieval encyclopedias known as ‘bestiaries’ Coates has created his own bestiary with a piece of jewellery mounted on an illustrated mount or ‘page’. Medieval bestiaries were illustrated books that described animals both physically and symbolically and often included myths, animal lore, and moral lessons. In Coates’ bestiary, his intricate animal ‘jewels’ are found nestled within their very own bestiary page.
Right here at the heart of the work, these fantastical, exquisite jewels represent a connection between animal and person - the person is described on the bestiary page itself. Like the mediaeval bestiary’s myths, lore and morals, these pairings are also symbolic. Here, the bestiary pages are like poems, representing the person’s idea and the impact that this had on society.
A Spider for Robert the Bruce. Neckpiece in wall mount. Photography by Clarissa Bruce
A Symphony of Curves
Geoffrey Preston - A Tradition in Plaster1 November 2014 - 11 January 2015
Geoffrey Preston is one of the UK’s leading architectural sculptors, specializing in sculpture and decorative plasterwork and in particular the art of stucco [link to his website]. He has been at the helm of many award-winning projects and this new exhibition ‘A Symphony of Curves: Geoffrey Preston - a tradition in plaster’ highlights his work and places in its historical context.
Geoffrey Preston is one of the UK’s leading architectural sculptors, specialising in decorative plasterwork and in particular the art of stucco. After studying sculpture at Hornsey College of Art he trained as a stonemason and a carver. He was a founding director of two of the country's most respected conservation companies, at the helm of many significant projects including the pioneering restoration of the 18th century hand modelled plasterwork at Uppark House in West Sussex.
In 2000 Geoffrey set up his workshop in Exeter to focus on sculpture and modelling. The workshop is thriving and employs a small team of skilled sculptors who work alongside Geoffrey on larger projects. The work ranges from small relief panels to complete rooms. Geoffrey works for plastering companies, architects, interior designers and private clients.
The exhibition includes a range of Geoffrey Preston's work, from small, beautifully modelled relief panels, to a wildly exuberant new Rococo ceiling. Design drawings and photographs of some of his principal commissions are also on display, as well as a group of striking geometric sculptures based on the architectural forms known as muqarnas, found in Islamic architecture. Displays of tools and materials offer visitors insight into how these objects were made.
Portait of Geoffrey Preston in his studio. Photo © Mark Girvan at Buddy Creative.