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What connects J. F. Herring’s portrait of 'Mundig', the winner of the 1835 St Leger, a dog called Rover, and a collection of pottery made in Mexborough during the nineteenth century? You can find out in a new exhibition at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery.

A Moment of Triumph

A Moment of Triumph 1875–1897

Frank Lockwood (1846–1897)

Heritage Doncaster

'Connections' takes as its starting point the first work to enter the art collection at Doncaster, Sir Frank Lockwood’s A Moment of Triumph. Through a series of links, some obvious, some surprising, and some downright stupid, the exhibition makes connections between around 70 artworks in the collection at Doncaster, eventually coming full circle back to the beginning.

Sir Frank Lockwood (1846–1897), the artist who created the first artwork in the exhibition, was a lawyer and Liberal MP for York from 1885 to 1897. In his spare time, he also drew political cartoons, and it is his cartoon of the Tichborne Case, a Victorian cause célèbre, that is included in the exhibition.

Lockwood was born locally, the son of Charles Day Lockwood, who was a stone quarrier at Levitt Hagg, near Doncaster. Levitt Hagg provides the subject of the next work in the exhibition, in a watercolour by Eric Platt.

Levitt Hagg

Levitt Hagg 1984

Eric Platt (1915–2012)

Heritage Doncaster

Platt was head of Doncaster School of Art for many years, and it is this fact that connects to the next painting in the exhibition, an image of Victorian life by George Edward Brumfitt.

Things Past

Things Past c.1950

George Edward Brumfitt (1917–1993)

Heritage Doncaster

Brumfitt was also head of the Art School in Doncaster, and the work is among a group of similarly themed paintings by him in the collection at Doncaster, which although currently in storage can be viewed on the Art UK website.

Among other highlights of the exhibition is Bertram Priestman’s powerful painting of Kilnsey Crag, seen beneath a heavy sky.

Kilnsey Crag, Wharfedale, Yorkshire

Kilnsey Crag, Wharfedale, Yorkshire 1929

Bertram Priestman (1868–1951)

Heritage Doncaster

The picture was purchased by Doncaster Museum Service in 1930 after lengthy negotiations with the artist, which are recorded in the Museum’s history files. Suffice it to say that the artist was not too happy with the price that he was paid for the picture!

Priestman died in 1951, the same year as Ethel Walker, who is represented in the display by her fluently handled image of an unknown man smoking a pipe.

Man with a Pipe

Man with a Pipe

Ethel Walker (1861–1951)

Heritage Doncaster

There are also some surprising works on display, including Elizabeth Styring Nutt’s painting The 'Derelict', High Tide, Whitby, which has rarely been displayed since it entered the Museum’s collection in 1941.

Styring Nutt was a fascinating character. Born on the Isle of Man in 1870, she spent her early years in Sheffield, where she attended the Sheffield School of Art. After leaving Sheffield she completed her studies at the Newlyn School of Art.

The 'Derelict', High Tide, Whitby, North Yorkshire

The 'Derelict', High Tide, Whitby, North Yorkshire

Elizabeth Styring Nutt (1854–1940)

Heritage Doncaster

In 1919 she accepted the position of Principal at the Victoria School of Art and Design in Nova Scotia, remaining there until 1943. Her painting is a good example of the sometimes quite random nature of the art collection cared for by Heritage Doncaster, which has grown over the past 100 years through a mixture of purchases, donations and bequests, and now numbers around 2,000 artworks.

It is Nutt’s time in Nova Scotia that connects her to the next work in the exhibition, Gyrth Russell’s impressionistic image of a gypsy camp in Doncaster, as Russell was born in Nova Scotia.

Doncaster Gypsy Encampment

Doncaster Gypsy Encampment

Gyrth Russell (1892–1970)

Heritage Doncaster

The picture was painted during the Second World War, when the artist was living in Doncaster and teaching at the local art school. The background to the composition is dominated by the towering structure of Hanley’s Flower Mill, an area of the town that the artist would have known well, as it is just around the corner from Doncaster Art School.

Low Tide

Low Tide c.1912

Elizabeth M. Wilde (active 1897–1938)

Heritage Doncaster

The penultimate work in the exhibition is Miss Elizabeth M. Wilde’s restful image Low Tide, which probably shows the coastline in Norfolk or Suffolk. The painting is among the earliest in the museum’s collection, and was painted in 1912, the same year as the work by Frank Lockwood with which the exhibition begins.

So if you want to get connected to some great art, visit Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery!

Neil McGregor, Assistant Manager (Art, Exhibitions and Outreach), Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery

'Connections' is on display at Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery from 12th January to 7th April 2019