A Year in Review – 2016

Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Scottish Artist in St Ives exhibition catalogue

A glimpse of our activities

The review for 2016 provides a glimpse of the range of activities in which the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust is involved:


2016  – Sponsorship


As we start February already (!) we have been reviewing our activities and achievements for 2016. It was a busy year! It began with sponsoring the exhibition Modern Scottish Women Painters and Sculptors 1885-1965 at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 2, Edinburgh. This ground breaking exhibition was highly acclaimed and we are delighted to be associated with it. The Trust also supported a study day, lecture and workshops. Alongside this exhibition the gallery held a display of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s prints, selected from the collection of eighty six prints donated by the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust in 2013. The drop-in workshops held in this room were particularly successful in engaging gallery visitors.


Other sponsorship was provided for

  • a two day symposium organised by the British Art Network Women’s Group that was held at SNGMA and focussed on the Modern Scottish Women artists’ exhibition
  • a lecture Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: in her own words 1940-1947 given by Janet Axten, St Ives Archive, at St Ives Arts Club, which, based on her diaries and correspondence, centred on Willie’s early years in St Ives. Digital copies of letters and diaries from between 1940 and 1950 were presented to St Ives Archive by the Barns-Graham Trust in the summer.
  • Filming the lecture for the Trust’s archive


2016 – Exhibitions


Exhibitions at Penlee House Art Gallery, Penzance – Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: a Scottish artist in St Ives – and at Beverley Art Gallery – A Different Way of Working: the prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham – were highly popular with gallery visitors, particularly at Penlee House which saw above average numbers through the door and a selling out of the exhibition catalogue. A reprint is on the cards. The exhibition was filmed and can be seen on the Trust web site now.


Exhibitions took place with our principal representing galleries – Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh; Belgrave Gallery, St Ives; with a fine display of collages at Art First, London. A large exhibition of small paintings, drawings and prints was held at the Watermill Gallery, Aberfeldy;


Paintings and collages were included in two themed exhibitions at Bohun Gallery, Henley on Thames. All in all, an extremely expansive schedule that saw Willie’s work being exhibited from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands! With each year more and more people are learning about and growing to love Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s art.


2016 – Bursaries


Since the Trust became active it has assisted art and art history students at selected art colleges and universities in Scotland and Cornwall. This is a key activity expressly wished by Willie, details of which are elsewhere on this web site.  This year the programme was expanded to include students at the University of the Highlands & Islands.We were pleased also to provide extra support  for the final degree exhibition  at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.


The Trust is also committed to supporting the annual summer school for school leavers in Fife who are thinking about going on to art school. Organised by Fife Contemporary Art & Craft this year’s event took place at Cambo House, Fife. We have also agreed to assist school students participating in a new youth project at St Ives School of Painting that starts in 2017.


Another area of the Trust’s activities is the artist-in-residency programme that is offered and managed collaboration by the Royal Scottish Academy. Paul Furneaux RSA was finally able to experience his 2014 award (postponed because of the sale of the Trust’s previous centre, Balmungo House) spent in Orkney. The Trust has agreed to support a new artist-in-residency project via the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust who manage the Porthmeor Studios, St Ives.


2016 – Gifts and Loans


Gifts of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s paintings were agreed with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Lillie Art gallery, Milngavie. This extends a programme of gifting, established in the artist’s centenary year (2012)  that saw paintings donated to Pallant House, Chichester and Abbot Hall, Kendal in 2015. Prints were donated to Borders Hospital, Melrose and to Robert Gordon University/Grays School of Art, Aberdeen.


Murray Edwards College /New Hall Art Collection received Expanding Forms, Touch Point Series (Movement over Sand) on loan, where it hangs in the principal dining hall. Important paintings on loan to SNGMA – Red Landscape (1957) and Expanding Forms Black and White (1980) – are now on the walls of Bute House, the official residence of Scotland’s First Minister. A replacement painting Ocean Series (2000) was installed in the foyer of St Andrews University Library.