I had a wonderful visit to Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. This gallery is a shining example of the marriage of historical and contemporary art and architecture and public accessibility. Some people object to the £7.50 entrance fee but I reckon you pay more than that to go to the cinema these days, and it is well worth it.
The permanent collection includes some of the earliest examples of painting to survive in the UK, in the form of the 16th Century Amberley Panels. These panels are amazingly well preserved and depict legendary heroines. Very interesting to see them after all the Mediaeval stained glass I have been looking at recently.
The collection is too extensive to really engage with each piece on one visit. Previously I have tended to concentrate more on the 20th century paintings, so it was a pleasure to give these older works more attention this time.
Also on at the moment is an exhibition of furniture and fabric designs by Lucienne and Robin Day. This is a fascinating glimpse of the design world of the 1950s onwards. It really expresses a feeling of a breath of fresh air which people felt coming out of the wartime gloom. It is particularly interesting to see the roots of so much contemporary “vintage” design at a time when we are looking to the past for fashion aesthetic.
There is in inspirational neon installation by the artist, Spencer Finch called “Starburst” suspended above the old stairway, this is a stunning piece and makes a great contrast to the traditional chandeliers which hang in the rest of the old part of the building. Even my Dad was impressed by it, and he is not generally very keen on contemporary pieces!
Nearby is a contemporary piece by artist, Susie MacMurray. She has made an incredible ballgown from uninflated metallic red balloons. The effect is almost as if there is an 18th Century headless ghost wandering the floor.
The neighbouring gallery has an exhibition of Mervyn Peake’s graphic illustrations. It is so good to see fine drawing and evocative storytelling like this.