Over the eight decades of her artistic career, Barns-Graham tended to work in themes, some of them lasting years (or decades), each one abounding with inspiration allowing her to return to them again and again.
This section aims to provide an introduction to some of the themes Barns-Graham explored in her work, bringing together art, archive material and publications from across the collection. The section will grow as our research develops.
For an overview of the thematic development of Barns-Graham’s career, it would be difficult to summarise it more succinctly than she did on this scrap of paper found slipped inside her 1998 page-per-day diary (WBG/4/1/64).
Notes from WBG’s page-per-day diary
Heads / Views / Glaciers – off + on after / Rock Forms. Golden Section / Clay Country Formations / Circles / Squares / Problems I set. Things of a kind / Projects / in order + disorder / Single forms / Drawings / Water colours [sic] / Gouaches / Acrylics / Destroyed numerous larger works / pure abstracts / mushrooms / shells / sun. Constructions / “nice dwgs as things of a kind” / Constellations – / Miro – Klee / Robert Adams. BN. BH. Gabo. / Phyllis Bottome