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Some artists on display at Tenby Museum & Art Gallery

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Augustus John was born in Tenby in 1878.  In 1894 he entered the Slade School of Fine Art and was an outstanding pupil of his generation.  Throughout his life he accomplished numerous portraits of the famous including Dylan Thomas and T.E Lawrence (of Arabia).  Augustus John died in 1961.

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Gwen John was born in Haverfordwest in 1876.  As a child she lived in Tenby.  She attended the Slade School of Fine Art and from 1904 lived in France.  Here she had a passionate love affair with sculptor Auguste Rodin.  In 1913 she converted to Catholicism.  Gwen John died in Dieppe in 1939.

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Edward Joseph Head came to live in Tenby in the 1890s and established himself as an artist and teacher of art.  He frequently displayed his work at the Royal Academy in London.  In Tenby the most famous student in his Art Classes was a young Augustus John.  Head was active in the social life of the town, putting his artistic skills to use in the community.  He died in 1937.

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Charles Norris, a gentleman artist, author and publisher was a gifted and prolific amateur artist of mainly topographical and maritime subjects.  He came to Tenby in 1805, remaining in the vicinity for he next fifty years, drawing and painting the local landscapes.  His work remains a detailed visual record of the area at this time.

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Nina Hamnett was born in Tenby in 1890.  She attended art schools in London, becoming a member of the bohemian Bloomsbury group.  In 1918 she held her first solo exhibition where Walter Sickert remarked “she draws like a born sculptor and paints like a born painter.”   Her artistic output dwindled in later life and she died in 1956 aged 66.  The museum also has in its collection a dress Nina wore to a fancy dress party in Tenby when she was nine years old (donated by the family, currently not on display).

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Eric Bradforth was born in Sheffield in 1920.  He trained at Sheffield College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London.  He was asked to develop a Graphic Arts Department for the Royal Artillery based at Manorbier.  Eric developed an abiding affection for Pembrokeshire, having moved his family here in 1950.  His work can be seen in various paces in Tenby including a mural in the town market. He died in 2012.

Art Collection

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The museum houses two art galleries, one which features the permanent collection, the second exhibiting changing temporary exhibitions.
The permanent art gallery features work by artists such as Gwen and Augustus John, Kyffin Williams, John Piper, David Jones, Gwilym Prichard, Claudia Williams, John Uzzell Edwards, Meirion Jones, Grahame Hurd-Wood, Fiore de Henriquez and Mark Raggett to name but a few.

Both Gwen and Augustus John spent their childhoods in Tenby – Augustus was born here in 1878 – before they attended the Slade School of Art in London and moved away. The gallery features works from various stages of their artistic careers including two very early works by Gwen, one of which depicts Tenby. There is also a showcase of personal memorabilia including Augustus John's pipe, Gwen's crucifix and painting smock. The museum was also fortunate to be the recipient of a recent bequest of five Augustus John etchings and lithographs.

The museum continues to acquire works from the Contemporary Art Society for Wales and the most recent acquisitions includes a work by Elizabeth Haines and two by Denis Curry, including a dramatic bronze sculpture of a bird in flight.

All of the museum's oil paintings are available to see online on the ArtUk website. The link for the page is:
https://artuk.org/visit/venues/tenby-museum-art-gallery-6916

Contemporary Art Society for Wales →