GIVEN: PHILANTHROPY AND THE BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION
For over 70 years the British Council has been collecting works of art in order to promote the achievements of British artists internationally. The Collection now contains over 9000 works covering all aspects of British art and design in the 20th and 21st Centuries. The Collection continues to grow through an active acquisition policy focusing on collecting and supporting artists early on in their careers. Philanthropy has been, and remains, vital to the Collection’s development and this exhibition demonstrates the many forms that ‘giving’ has taken throughout the history of the collection.
Founded in 1935, the British Council Collection was gifted an initial donation of £1000 a year for 3 years from Lord Wakefield. This was designated to be spent on black and white works on paper that would be suitable for international travel and culminated in the acquisition of over 400 artworks known as the Wakefield Collection. Another important early gift was Walter Sickert’s oil painting St Mark’s, Venice, presented to the collection by Bridget D’Oyly Carte. These gifts show the importance of individual support for the British Council’s activities and our continuing collaboration with arts in the UK as well as abroad.
Throughout its history the British Council has maintained a commitment to supporting artists early on in their careers. The two lithographs displayed here were personally gifted to the collection by Henry Moore, demonstrating his appreciation for his long-term relationship with the Council. More recently, in September 1994, Sir Anthony Caro gifted the sculpture Summer Tableto the collection in recognition of the valued support he received from the Council during his career. Purchased in 2011, Alan Kane’s Home for Orphaned Dishes presents an alternative idea of giving within the Collection. Blurring the boundary between the artist and the viewer, Kane encourages his audience to co-create by donating their own unwanted ceramics to his installation, and consequently gifting items to the British Council Collection itself.
The exhibition is located at the British Council's London Offices
10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN
Open 9am - 6pm Monday - Friday
Installation ImagesSee all (1)
Clay based products produced from non-metallic material and fired at high temperature. The term covers all objects made of fired clay, including earthenware, porcelain, stoneware and terra cotta.
The arrangement of elements or details in an artefact or a work of art.
An artwork comprised of many and various elements of miscellaneous materials (see mixed media), light and sound, which is conceived for and occupies an entire space, gallery or site. The viewer can often enter or walk around the installation. Installations may only exist as long as they are installed, but can be re-created in different sites. Installation art emerged in the 1960s out of Environmental Art (works of art which are three-dimensional environments), but it was not until the 1970s that the term came into common use and not until the late 1980s that artists started to specialise in this kind of work, creating a genre of ‘Installation Art’. The term can also be applied to the arrangement of selected art works in an exhibition.
A medium in which ground pigments are mixed to produce a paste or liquid that can be applied to a surface by a brush or other tool; the most common oil used by artists is linseed, this can be thinned with turpentine spirit to produce a thinner and more fluid paint. The oil dries with a hard film, and the brightness of the colour is protected. Oil paints are usually opaque and traditionally used on canvas.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.