We are coming to the end of our National Lottery Heritage Funded Creative Wiltshire project which ran from 2014 and aimed to collect and celebrate the work of the county’s creative people. Over the course of the project we made many and varied acquisitions for museums across the county; read more about the project, the artists and its acquisitions on the Creative Wiltshire website and watch a short film celebrating the impact of the project for local museums.
One of the final acquisitions we have been able to make is a collection of artwork by Janet Boulton.
Janet is an artist with strong connections to Wiltshire and Swindon. She was born in Swindon in 1936, and studied at Swindon School of Art from 1953-55 before going to the painting school at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts until 1958. Some of the material we have collected was inspired by her time working at Westinghouse in Chippenham in the years immediately after she left Camberwell. She says “during the dinner break I took to making pencil drawings in a small lined notebook, standing around outside in various positions within the works”.
In 1977 Swindon Museum and Art Gallery hosted an exhibition by Janet Boulton called ‘Windows and Reflections’ which showcased her paintings of and through windows.
Janet also worked part time as an art teacher in Swindon at Commonweal and Hereod Burna Schools, and at Swindon College. During this time she still practiced as an artist and one of her paintings ‘End of Term, Commonweal School’ was exhibited at Salisbury Museum’s ‘Creative Wiltshire: A Celebration of Art in Wiltshire’ exhibition in 2019.
We are hoping to continue to develop the themes of the Creative Wiltshire project and to collect artistic material to preserve for public access and inspiration. The kinds of material we are looking to continue collecting include:
Sketch books Drawings and sketches Design ideas/notes – these may be in text format rather than just visual Scrap books Ephemera such as magazine articles, postcards, anything that might have been used as inspiration Preparatory work – working drawings. These may be considered by some to be unimportant because they are unfinished or scrappy, but they are all part of a process. Photographs – these may be of work no longer owned by the artist or of work in progress or of things that inspired future work. Publicity material – this may be a poster for an exhibition, a list of exhibitors, it may have been designed by the artist. Diaries and journals. Samples – this might be a proof of a print, or a sample of a textile, or a fragment of a glaze or paint colour, depending on the artist’s preferred medium. Tracings or cartoon used by artists to plan
We would also be keen to include anything that reflects the life and workspace of an artist; images of a studio or workspace, previous exhibitions, commissions etc.
Finally, if you are looking for some inspiration about how to use archives for artistic inspiration we have put together this Artists in the Archives Toolkit!
This HLF project, in conjunction with Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and participating museums and archives in Wiltshire, is now in its final year. We have made many purchases, adding to creative collections in the county by allowing curators to select significant pieces that will fill gaps in their collections while telling the story of creators who have been inspired by the beauty of our county. Participating museums include Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Salisbury Museum, Chippenham Museum, Trowbridge Museum, Pewsey Heritage Centre, Athelstan Museum, Swindon Local Studies and the Young Gallery in Salisbury.
An end of project exhibition will be taking place at Salisbury Museum from January to May 2019 and we are delighted to announce that we have employed an Exhibitions Assistant Trainee to plan and run this event. The one day a week post over the next ten months will provide valuable experience in Heritage Services, allowing our trainee to gain valuable knowledge and understanding about how a museum exhibition works, while being mentored by the Salisbury Museum Curator and staff. We are very pleased to be able to offer this unique role as part of Creative Wiltshire.
Our group of ARTeologists are planning their second exhibition, which will run from October 13th to November 3rd at Chippenham Museum. Their journey has been about exploring this ever growing Creative Wiltshire collection as a catalyst for new work and the results are beautiful and inspiring, illustrating the benefit of looking at past work of creative people to inform future directions. We are proud to see the collections used in this way. Their final exhibition will take place at Town Hall Arts, Trowbridge, from January 11th to February 16th 2019.
Some of the work we have purchased has concentrated on representing artists associated with the Bath of Academy of Art based at Corsham Court. It became an important educational establishment for the training of young artists thanks to the commitment of Clifford Ellis and his wife Rosemary who were instrumental in the success of the BAA. You may be interested in the upcoming exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath; Making Art Matter. Clifford and Rosemary Ellis which is on display from 8th September to 25th November 2018.
We have also purchased work by this family; artwork has been added to the Chippenham Museum collection and archive material added to the archives held at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre thereby demonstrating the importance of art education and the role of creativity in the everyday.