A Century of British Art; Bournemouth Arts Club 1920-2020

An exhibition showcasing some of the finest twentieth-century British art from well-known local artists opens at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum this October.

Celebrating one hundred years of Bournemouth Arts Club, the exhibition was delayed from its intended schedule last year due to the lockdown closures.

Shortly after the ending of the First World War a group of accomplished Dorset based artists, most notably Geoffrey Baker, Head of the Municipal College of Art; Eustace Nash and Leslie Ward formed the Bournemouth Arts Club (BAC) to support and promote art and artists in the area. They invited leading contemporary artists to join them in exhibitions and events.

Showcased in this centenary exhibition is some of the finest twentieth century British Art drawn from national and private collections to reveal fascinating insights into how the Club flourished and responded to radical ideas and changing approaches in art. Alongside work by well-known BAC members are works by internationally acclaimed artists including Henry Moore, John Nash, Ben Nicholson, Prunella Clough and William Crozier who were inspirations to the BAC.

Many of the selected artworks are scenes of Dorset’s most celebrated attractions, including the Purbeck’s Chalk Cliffs near Swanage by Leslie Moffat Ward, Frank Richard’s View near Christchurch, Eustace Nash’s Sunday at Weymouth, and Bournemouth Pier by Margaret Wilson.

Russell-Cotes Museum Manager, Sarah Newman explained: “The Russell-Cotes Museum has had a long-standing and strong connection with the Bournemouth Arts Club going back almost 100 years and we are delighted to finally be able to showcase some of our finest paintings from our 20th Century Painting and Sculpture collection, all with a local connection. The exhibition is also complimented with loans from Southampton City Art Gallery and Swindon Museum and Art Gallery.

The exhibition includes work by some of our great contemporary Bournemouth artists and we are pleased to be showcasing and supporting the vibrant creative and arts community of Bournemouth.”

Bournemouth Arts Club said: “Bournemouth Arts Club are proud to have their remarkable 100 years recognised by this special Centenary exhibition. It is a fascinating collection of art by past and present members displayed alongside work by influencing artists in the prestigious Russell-Cotes Gallery.”

A Century of British Art; Bournemouth Arts Club 1920-2020 opened on Friday 1 October and is showing until March 6, 2022. It follows the success of the Russell-Cotes’ previous exhibition Hidden Highlights: Life in Lockdown. For admission prices and additional information please visit russellcotes.com.

Bournemouth Arts Club continue to run a programme of events for club members and host regular exhibitions. As well as A Century of British Art, their 100th Annual Exhibition takes place at the Red House Museum and Gardens in Christchurch this September and October.