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The Ingram Collection is one of the largest publicly accessible collections of modern British art in the UK. We loan artworks from the collection to galleries, museums and non-traditional spaces across the country, and our latest exhibition is now on at The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey.

Kenneth Armitage (1916–2002), bronze with a green patina, unique

Pandarus: variation, 1962

Kenneth Armitage (1916–2002), bronze with a green patina, unique

'In Their Own Words: Artist Voices from The Ingram Collection' presents 43 works by 22 of the best known modern British artists, alongside audio recordings of the artists talking about their childhoods, memories, careers and major life events.

We hope that this exhibition opens up a new strand of interest to viewers by illuminating the connections between art and everyday life.

These archival audio recordings come from Artists’ Lives, a National Life Stories project in association with the British Library. Established in 1990, the Artists’ Lives archive contains almost 400 life-story interviews with British artists as well as critics, dealers and gallery directors, providing an unparalleled and rich history of the British art landscape over the course of the twentieth century. Guest curator Michael Bird chose the audio excerpts for the exhibition during a year-long Goodison Fellowship at the British Library investigating aspects of the Artists’ Lives project.

The Sower

The Sower 1937

Eileen Agar (1899–1991)

'In Their Own Words' is an accessible and fun exhibition which is designed to shed light on the personal experiences of the artists and the impact these had on their creative endeavours. Each artist is represented by their work (paintings, works on paper and sculptures) and this is accompanied by excerpts from their audio interviews.

It is an opportunity to see work by some of the best known artists within the Ingram Collection: Eileen Agar, Kenneth Armitage, John Bellany, Ralph Brown, Lynn Chadwick, Geoffrey Clarke, Ken Currie, Mary Fedden, Paul Feiler, Elisabeth Frink, Terry Frost, William Gear, Derrick Greaves, Patrick Heron, Josef Herman, Allen Jones, Bernard Meadows, Brendan Neiland, Eduardo Paolozzi, Leonard Rosoman, Carel Weight and Rosemary Young are represented.

The audio recordings are varied and offer fascinating insights into the artists’ careers and lives. They also shed light on some of the most iconic pieces in British art, for example Eduardo Paolozzi’s commission for the Tottenham Court Road Underground station mosaic. The artist describes the area as ‘a big kind of, it’s a rich churning mass of people with lights and sort of a kaleidoscope of events and cinemas, hamburgers, fast food.’ There are also charming anecdotes from childhood – sculptor Ralph Brown talks about walking past Victorian public sculptures of nude women in Leeds City Centre on his way to school and how, aged eight, he tried to build a snowman in the shape of a nude woman.

'In Their Own Words' is a unique opportunity to hear these artists talking in their own words, revealing private personal history and the relationship between their life and art. We hope that this exhibition opens up a new strand of interest to viewers by illuminating the connections between art and everyday life.

Jo Baring, Director & Curator, The Ingram Collection

'In Their Own Words: Artist Voices from The Ingram Collection' is at The Lightbox, Woking, until 30th July.