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Published: 31 October 2020

By Andy Ross

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Pallant House

Chichester's Pallant House has an excellent collection of art in its permanent collection and also puts on exhibitions of quality. Just ending or about to end are three shows

A rainy autumn day is perfect for visiting the House as we did this weekend to see the final days of  Barnett Freedman: Designs for Modern Britain. It was highly recommended by a friend of the blog (thank you, Mary) and did not disappoint. After a quick tour of the permanent collection to see some old favourites - Graham Sutherland, Christopher Wood, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore, et al - it was time to see the Freedman show. 

Barnett Freedman will be familiar to many readers of the blog through his work for the Lyon's Lithographs, artworks commissioned by Lyons Tearooms to revitalise their fading and peeling interiors after the Second World War. Or perhaps for his work for London Underground. He was, and is, recognised as a formidable figure in Britain's rich art and design history.

This exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through the artist's artistic life, from its beginnings at the Royal College of Art through book illustration, graphic design and printmaking as well as paintings, including some of musical gatherings and performances, examples of his interest in Sicilian puppets and his work as an official War Artist. A truly inspiring and wonderful exhibition. 

Alongside this has been An Outbreak of Talent: Bawden, Marx, Ravilious and their contemporaries. Another marvellous show that shows some of the prodigious talent that caused Paul Nash, tutor at the RCA to remark on the time as having "an outbreak of talent". 

Lastly, in the small gallery downstairs is Drawn to Nature: Gilbert White and the Artists. Gilbert White is recognised as one of the first naturalists and his book The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne has inspired artists and writers for more than two hundred years. Now, in this tercentenary of Gilbert White's birth, a series of events across the UK are taking place and this show is one of them. It brings together wood-engravings, prints and illustrators from artists who have been inspired by the book in a wealth of ideas and techniques. It is yet another truly lovely exhibition to see and this one is on until 15th November.