Stanley Spencer @Mcr Art Gallery

A new display at Manchester Art Gallery, featuring prestigious paintings on loan from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

By Matthew Tyas | May 3rd '12

Prestigious Stanley Spencer painting on loan from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation in new Manchester Art Gallery display.

The Garage by Stanley Spencer

Contemporary sculptor Des Hughes has guest curated a new display at Manchester Art Gallery, largely using works from their collection.

Everything’s Inevitable: Works from the collection of Manchester Art Gallery selected by Des Hughes (2 May 2012 – 2013) brings together sculptures, paintings, drawings and objects from the 16th century to the 21st century.

The exhibition includes the loan of Stanley Spencer’s masterpiece Garage from The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. Stanley Spencer’s Garage is an evocative depiction of the motoring world. It is a fascinating study of both the social and technological aspects of the industry in the late 1920s. It has never been shown in Manchester before.

The loan builds on previous links between the gallery and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. The composer has collected Pre-Raphaelite art since the 1960s and loaned two works from his collection to the gallery for their recent blockbuster exhibition Ford Madox Brown: Pre-Raphaelite Pioneer. In 2010, he visited the gallery to film works from their celebrated Pre-Raphaelite collection while recording the ITV documentary A Passion for the Pre-Raphaelites.

The exhibition also features some of the gallery’s most popular sculptures, such as Doves by Barbara Hepworth (1927) and Head of a Baby by Jacob Epstein (1902-04). Popular paintings on display include Nocturnal Landscape by Paul Nash (1938) and Seated Woman by Alberto Giacometti (1949).

In contrast, some of the lesser known works such as Edward Middleditch’s Sheffield Weir I (1954) and Elizabethan court painter, George Gower’s Mary Cornwallis (1580-1585) have rarely been seen out of storage before.

One of the Des Hughes’ most recent works is being exhibited. In a Brown Study (2011) is a collection of diverse objects which draw inspiration from other artworks, presented within a ‘framed screen’. The work will be acquired by the gallery for its collection.

Hughes has also filled a cabinet with a number of ancient and intriguing objects from the gallery’s collection, including some Roman nails, a spoon from the 5th century and a birch porridge stirrer (known as a thible) from the 19th century. He has mingled these items with pieces from his ongoing series of small sculptures Thems.

Speaking about the exhibition, Maria Balshaw, Director, Manchester City Galleries said:
“Everything’s Inevitable is just one of many exciting changes currently taking place at Manchester Art Gallery. Over the next few months, many more displays will be revitalised or replaced. We hope our visitors will enjoy the opportunity to see different works from our collection presented alongside some fantastic new artworks on loan from around the country.”

Everything’s Inevitable: Works from the collection of Manchester Art Gallery selected by Des Hughes opens on Wednesday 2 May and runs until 2013.