As part of Compton Verney's 10th anniversary celebrations and as home to one of the UKs largest collection of British Folk Art we are delighted to be hosting an exhibition which is the first major survey of British Folk Art. Over 150 paintings, sculptures, textiles and objects have been drawn together from collections across the country in an exhibition that will celebrate folk art in the UK.
Folk Art is an established subject in many countries; however in Britain the genre remains elusive. Rarely considered in the context of art history, 'Folk art' has been viewed as part of social history or folklore studies. This show unites an extraordinary selection of objects, exploring the threshold between art and artefact and challenging perceptions of 'high art'.
The exhibition includes surprising and diverse examples of British Folk Art, from rustic leather Toby jugs to brightly coloured ships' figureheads. The imposing larger than life-size thatched figure of King Alfred created by a master thatcher, Jesse Maycock, in 1960 is just one of the highlights of the exhibition. Other highlights include maritime embroidery by fisherman John Craske, an intricately designed pin cushion made by wounded soldiers during the Crimean war, shop signs and whirligigs.
While much Folk Art is anonymous, this exhibition also presents works by a number of prominent individuals. Amongst these key figures are George Smart the tailor of Frant, eminent embroiderer Mary Linwood and Cornish painter Alfred Wallis. Often neglected in the story of art in Britain, the inclusion of these artists aims to reassess their position in art history.
The exhibition is curated by Martin Myrone, Curator, Tate Britain, Ruth Kenny, Assistant Curator, Tate Britain and artist Jeff McMillan.