Farewell to the Jerwood Sculpture Collection

Most of the Jerwood Sculpture Collection is being auctioned at Sothebys, London in May 2012 to ‘enhance its dedicated support of the visual and performing arts’. I suppose such reinvestment must be supported albeit cautiously, despite the collection breaking up to move to pastures new.

After the death of founder John Jerwood in 1991, the vision for the collection developed under the influence of Jerwood Foundation Chairman Alan Grieve and opened to the public at Witley Court in Worcestershire in 2000; its first acquisition was Elisabeth Frink’s Walking Man. It subsequently moved to Ragley Hall in 2005 and has been a collection well worth visiting as the original 1960-1980s sculptures were figuratively rather than conceptually influenced and included work by Michael Ayrton, Kenneth Armitage, Ronald Rae, Harry Everington and Alan Thornhill. The two latter were influential in the Frink School of Sculpture and for me typify works that speak from the heart as well as the head, as does Rae’s Widow Woman (above).

Other Jerwood acquisitions include works from 1990 onwards by Peter Randall Page, Antony Gormley and Sokari Douglas Camp as well as the biennial Jerwood Sculpture Prize works from younger sculptors.

The richness of the collection no doubt influenced my decision to ask Alan Grieve to sit for me; several of the sculptors mentioned above also happen be part of a new series of terracotta heads celebrating the roles of artist, teacher, collector, entrepreneur and critic within British Sculpture.

Here the improvisational conception of the 1983 sculpture ‘Bond’ is discussed by the sculptor, Alan Thornhill:

I am exhibiting 6 works at www.thejozeshow.com deep in rural Sussex 24-28th May 2012, where my large carving, Lewes Group will be shown after its return from loan to Bournemouth’s Russell Cotes Gallery.