Posted: 21/01/2012 20:40:01 by Nigel Nixon

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.”

Tagged with: kendal, watercolour, artwork


Posted: 29/11/2011 09:55:40 by Nigel Nixon

A HAWKSHEAD Brewery beer was voted overall champion at the Brewers’ Society Northern Beer Competition held in Manchester.

Hawkshead Brewery’s Windermere Pale won the gold medal in the bitter pale ales category and a second gold for being judged overall champion of the competition.

Some 250 beers from 80 breweries were entered into the competition run by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

The North region is the largest of the seven SIBA regions of Britain.

The beers are judged in one of eight categories, the bitter category being the biggest.

Category winners then go forward to a national competition of winners of all seven regions.

Windermere Pale at 3.5% abv is hoppy and refreshing, pale gold in colour with a long bitter finish with hints of grapefruit.

The fruity hop flavours come from a medley of traditional and modern hops.

Managing director of Hawkshead Brewery Alex Brodie said: “Windermere Pale is a very popular beer, it has a lot of fans.

“It has become the best selling beer in The Beer Hall at the Brewery.

“It is one of those beers that is winning converts to real ale.”

Tagged with: Hawkshead, brewery


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