ONE of the most important collections of watercolour paintings in the world is heading our way.
More than 40 works from the exquisite holdings of Sir Hickman Beckett Bacon (1855-1945), an avid collector of English watercolours between 1895 and the First World War, will be on show at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, from January 12 until April 14.
Now owned by Sir Nicholas Bacon, the precious paintings will be loaned to the Kendal gallery for its next exhibition - Turner and his Contemporaries: The Hickman Bacon Watercolour Collection.
Abbot Hall chief executive Gordon Watson was thrilled at the prospect of the eminent display, which should have the eyes of the nation’s arts world focused on the important regional gallery.
In fact, a fitting time to stage such a grand show as Abbot Hall celebrates a half century since its opened its celebrated doors.
Gordon added: “Fifty years ago on September 28, 1962, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret officially opened the gallery and since then Abbot Hall has established itself as one of the most significant and ambitious galleries in the north of England.”
Rarely aired in public, the collection will be shown alongside highlights from Abbot Hall’s own permanent collection of watercolours.
Sir Nicholas said that he was delighted to be able to lend the paintings to Abbot Hall.
He continued: “My great uncle Sir Hickman Bacon (Hicky) had unusual tastes for his time and thus the collection is very strong in the type of late, ethereal Turner watercolours that only became widely popular with the advent of abstract painting in the 1940s and 50s. Equally, John Sell Cotman, an artist who had only just emerged from total obscurity, was of particular interest.
“Hicky’s collection represents English watercolour painting at its greatest; like so many collectors he was not interested by the fashion of the day, but he was committed to collecting those objects which fulfilled his heartfelt love of beauty.”
Born in 1855 into a family of landed gentry, Sir Hickman was educated at Eton. He joined the army, later returning to his old-fashioned family mansion. He suffered from ill health early in his life, and remained a bachelor until he died in 1945. He also collected fabrics, wall hangings, ceramics and Japanese prints – a collection he gave to the Japanese Government.
Abbot Hall collections manager Nick Rogers said that an exhibition of watercolours from the ‘remarkable’ Hickman Bacon collection was a cause for celebration wherever it was held. He added: “That it is taking place in Kendal, Cumbria, is particularly appropriate, as this is an area that played a significant role in the development of watercolour as the medium of choice for the itinerant artist in the late 18th and early 19th Century.”
BBC Radio 1 DJ’s Chris Moyles and Greg James are packing their bags early and taking their shows to Carlisle a week before Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
The pair will broadcast their shows live from Cumbria from Monday (May 9) to Friday (May 13) when they arrive a week ahead of the main event. In addition to their daily shows, Chris, Greg and their teams will be getting out and about in the city and surrounding areas, meeting the residents and celebrating all that Carlisle has to offer.
The pair will immerse themselves in the local community for a whole week, and they also plan to meet the city’s students in a Q&A session during the week.
Chris Moyles says: “The Big Weekend is always the highlight of my year and I'm so excited that we get to go up to Carlisle for a whole week beforehand and settle in before everyone else arrives. I'm hoping the good people of Carlisle are going to show us a good time!''
Greg James adds: “I’m really looking forward to this year’s Big Weekend and to bring my show live from Carlisle. Chris and I will be out and about meeting the locals during the week and I'm hoping we can experience the best of the city!"
BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend is the UK's biggest free ticketed festival and 40,000 lucky music fans will be able to enjoy performances across four stages at Carlisle Airfield where the event is taking place – the Main Stage; the In New Music We Trust Stage; the Outdoor Stage and the BBC Introducing Stage. This year’s artists include, Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters, The Black Eyed Peas, Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding.
A truly multiplatform experience, Radio 1's Big Weekend will be broadcast on Radio 1, with a major interactive presence online and many live performances available to watch on demand. There will be highlights on BBC Three and extended performances can be seen via BBC Red Button on digital TV during the weekend.