The Hepworth Wakefield has announced that two of its long-standing patrons have generously promised to bequeath nearly 100 artworks from their private collection to the West Yorkshire gallery.
The collection, lovingly built up over many years by Terence Bacon and John Oldham, features a significant number of vessels by many of Britain’s most acclaimed ceramicists, including pioneering studio potter Dame Lucie Rie (1902-95), Angus Suttie (1946-93) and Alison Britton (b. 1948). At the heart of the collection are 43 pots by John Ward (b. 1938), known for his hand-built ceramics that draw on influences as varied as ancient pre-glaze pottery to the textures of the Pembrokeshire landscape where he lives.
This collection of Ward’s work is one of the most significant in private hands and features examples of all of the forms developed by Ward over 50 years.
The gift also includes paintings and works on paper by important British artists Craigie Aitchison, Leeds-born Trevor Bell (1930-2017), Sir Terry Frost RA (1915-2003), Rose Hilton (1931-2019) and Euan Uglow (1932-2000).
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “We are so delighted by the generosity of John and Terry, who have been wonderfully supportive of The Hepworth Wakefield since its earliest days. Their impeccable art collection has developed from their friendships with artists and their deep longstanding passion for art matches perfectly with the remit of The Hepworth Wakefield’s role to engage diverse audiences with the creative and inspiring power of art.
Philanthropic gifts play a vital role in helping us continue to build on the legacy of Wakefield’s ambitious and forward-thinking art collecting, which began in the 1930s and has always included British ceramics. John and Terry’s gift is especially significant in helping broaden our reach to ever-wider audiences, and because they are local collectors as rooted in Yorkshire as we are.”
Terence Bacon said: “We can think of no better home for our art collection than The Hepworth Wakefield, an organisation we have long admired and which has introduced us to many new artists over the years. We take our collecting seriously, building relationships with the artists we buy from wherever possible and have had the privilege to visit John Ward in his studio in Pembrokeshire many times and often visit St Ives.”
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council said: “I’d like to express my gratitude to Mr Bacon and Mr Oldham for this very special and generous gift to Wakefield’s art collection. The collection is a major public resource that is much loved and well used. It is wonderful that The Hepworth continues to grow the collection for future generations and builds on the strategic investment we made in creating The Hepworth Wakefield to ensure that culture-led regeneration continues ambitiously in the region.”
A special exhibition of highlights from the collection will go on public display for the first time at The Hepworth Wakefield once the gallery reopens. In the meantime, a Q&A with the collections and a gallery of images can be found at hepworthwakefield.org.
Main image by Nick Singleton
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