England: Heritage & Contemporary Life. Tony Phillips at The Portico Library.

23 Sep 2016 – 18 Oct 2016

Event times

Weekdays 9.30-16.30/17.30 and Saturdays 11.00-15.00

Cost of entry


The Portico Library

Manchester, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Gardens
  • Piccadilly Gardens
  • Manchester Piccadilly

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Free public printmaking workshops, exhibition and publication of new works exploring England's changing landscape and the effects of globalisation in the 21st century.


The Portico Library is delighted to offer two free beginners’ workshops in narrative etching through traditional dry-point technique with leading printmaker and illustrator Tony Phillips (Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain, John Rylands Library), with an accompanying exhibition of recent works and newly commissioned publication England: Heritage & Contemporary Life. Building on previous series looking into the legacy of colonialism in England, globalisation’s effects and his own British-African heritage, Northwest artist Tony Phillips has undertaken a research residency at The Portico Library throughout 2016, culminating this September with the publication of a full-colour illustrated monograph and exhibition of new work.

England: Heritage & Contemporary Life forms part of The Portico Library’s Voyages & Travels project, supported by The Zochonis Charitable Trust, and draws on its 19th century collection of books on exploration, architecture, social history and art. Please join us for the free exhibition preview with refreshments and an introduction by the artist on Thursday 22nd September, 5.30pm–8pm, and visit to book a place on one of the workshops on either Friday 23rd September, or Friday 14th October, 10am – 4pm. All materials are provided free and there is no experience needed but places are limited so registration is essential. Each workshop includes a lunch break during which The Portico Library’s kitchen will be open for meals and drinks.

Tony will be available at the exhibition launch evening to sign copies of his new book, England: Heritage & Contemporary Life, published by The Portico Library and documenting this Arts Council England funded touring project’s resulting work. Comprising etchings, drawings and installations on the theme of England's changing landscape and our relationship to its evolution, this body of work showcases Tony’s distinctive dry-point etching technique in which he creates sequences of layered images from a single plate, building narrative through enhancing or obscuring underlying imagery. The library’s many volumes and illustrations on architecture, landscape and industry have provided source material and inspiration, helping Tony to develop new series to add to the collection.

The Portico Library is a 200-year-old independent subscription library and gallery space in Manchester city centre. An eclectic calendar of exhibitions and events complements the unique collection of books, archives and illustrations spanning over 450 years, and visitors can enjoy a meal or drink in the gallery cafe from Monday to Saturday. Previously a members’ only institution with associates including John Dalton, Peter Mark Roget, Elizabeth Gaskell, Val McDermid and Eric Cantona, The Portico is now open free to the public six days a week, with diverse outreach and engagement programmes including the prestigious biennial Portico Prizes for Literature and Sadie Massey Awards for Young Readers and Writers.


Neil Douglas

Exhibiting artists

Tony Phillips


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