When: 13th January – 15th April 2018
Where: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth BH1 3AA
£: Admission costs £6 for adults, £4 for children and concessions, and children under 5 years go free
What is it?
This month a new exhibition will be opening at Bournemouth’s Russell-Cotes art gallery and museum that will invite visitors to reconstruct a crime through paintings.
The exhibition, A Question of Guilt: A Crime Writer’s Collection opens on Saturday 13th January in the newly refurbished galleries, and features the private collection of crime writer Frances Fyfield.
It will ask the audience to look at each painting without prejudice, considering it through the eyes of a storyteller and imagine the character and motives of the person portrayed. The audience is invited to meet victims, charlatans, detectives, murderers, witnesses as well as mere onlookers.
Award-winning crime writer, Frances Fyfield, has written 24 novels featuring accidental murder, dental horrors, art theft, family feuds and other atrocities; leading to books of visual scenes which also emphasise the essential goodness of human nature.
In the meantime, she has been an assiduous collector of oil paintings, portraits and drawings by British artists, from 1890 to 1950. Based around her eclectic private collection of Bloomsbury/British modernist art, including many anonymous painters, this exhibition is a showcase for British twentieth century art, but it is also styled as a ‘Whodunnit’. Each painting has its own potential story, while each character or scene may play a part in a wider story. Fyfield has written the captions for the exhibition, inviting the audience to become the detective too.
The backdrop of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is a perfect setting for an exhibition full of potential crime stories. The splendid Victorian house, with stunning views over the golden sands of Bournemouth, is flamboyant and theatrical both inside and out, packed with paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and ethnography and arranged with individuality and eccentricity.
Visitors are invited to come along, either to see fine British paintings from the Fyfield and Russell-Cotes Collection in their own right, or step back in time to an apparently gentler age of calling cards, cocktails, intrigue, fine hats and enmity. They can don their Sherlock Holmes style deer-stalkers and imagine themselves either Upstairs or Downstairs at a party that may go horribly wrong.
The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see work by well-known artists including Walter Sickert, Frank Dobson, Duncan Grant, Evelyn Dunbar and Gwen John, alongside less well-known and many unknown names. Frances Fyfield has also selected out some paintings from the Russell-Cotes collection and devised the commentary in her own inimitable style.
There will be a programme of talks and workshops around crime writing, collecting and portraiture during the course of the exhibition. Fyfield will talk about her collection on Friday 2nd February and at a crime writers panel on Thursday 15th March.
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth is an historic house built in 1901 by Merton Russell-Cotes as an extravagant birthday gift for his wife Annie. It is almost unique in comprising the home that they built and the collections they amassed. It celebrates the couple’s passion for art and travel, world cultures and natural history. Situated on Bournemouth’s stunning cliff-top over-looking the sea, this exotic seaside villa has been sealed in time creating a unique atmosphere in a most dramatic setting.
Comprising an art gallery, museum and historic house, a café and a shop, it features collections of high Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art of international-standing, including Albert Moore’s Midsummer and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Venus Verticordia.
More info: russellcotes.com