Just a small example of the paintings on show at the Pallant House Gallery, which my friend Rona and I visited on Wednesday. We had originally intended to visit the CASS Sculpture Estate at Goodwood, but both the BBC weather site and the Met office site both predicted heavy rain. You can imagine our consternation as we gazed out at the glorious sunshine from inside the gallery.
Now, to my shame I haven’t been to the gallery in years, and certainly not since its famous rescue and reincarnation. The original Pallant House is a beautiful old Queen Ann building situated down one of the side streets of Chichester. Some years ago it was under threat from closure. A gallant and persistent campaign on behalf of artists and art lovers in the Chichester community saved the gallery, and an injection of Heritage lottery fund money which paid for the fantastic and modern extension has resulted in its renaissance. It is one of the most popular and well endowed galleries outside of London, with a collection of modern art famous worldwide, including works from many well known artists, including Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Salvador Dali, Sickert, Braque etc.
I was particularly drawn to the work of post war abstract artist John Tunnard, and found his surreal abstract paintings on board using incised lines to create planes, very interesting. His works are at the same time slightly gloomy, though have a dreamlike and uplifting quality I found quite compelling.
When entering the museum from the new wing, the galleries flow into each other seamlessly and harmoniously. Naturally the new wing houses the majority of the modern art, though the original gallery has some also. But, it is in the old original Pallant House that the Hogarth prints can be found, and the elderly and very charming gallery assistant was very enthusiastic about them.
I have always been very interested in Hogarth, not just from an artistic perspective, but from a historical one. Given that my love of history possibly is as strong as my love of art (and in fact I very nearly studied History rather than Art), I have always found the works of Hogarth very absorbing, though some of his prints are not for the faint of heart, as they depict much from those times that was both cruel, sordid and heart wrenching.
It was a very enjoyable visit, and it should be mentioned that Pallant House run workshops and events, and in fact I am going to attend one of their life drawing classes soon.
The gallery assistants are helpful and charming and very willing to impart their knowledge of the work on show, and it is obvious that they have a great love of the building and the exhibits. If you want to know more about the gallery then visit the website, the Wikipedia page has some interesting facts about the history of Pallant House.
I highly recommend a visit.