TOWNER visitors have been digging deep in their pockets to help fund two new artworks by 20th century British artist John Piper.
During Towner’s exhibition John Piper in Kent & Sussex, shown in the summer of 2011, the opportunity arose to buy two of the most significant works in the show.
With Piper previously under represented in the Towner Collection, the gallery was keen to acquire Newhaven, The Castle (1934) and Newhaven (1937) and immediately secured funding of £75,000 towards the purchase price from The Art Fund, the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and through the generosity of the Friends of the Towner.
The gallery was left with £10,000 still to find and launched a public appeal.
The response was staggering. Visitors were asked to make a small donation on exhibition entry, but many took the opportunity to give more.
Towner members were also key supporters and it is testament to the strength of local support, as well as the generosity of visitors from further afield, that such a substantial amount was raised in just over three weeks – said a Towner spokesperson.
Donations have continued to be made and Towner is incredibly grateful for the continued response to the appeal.
Eastbourne Borough Council Cabinet Member for Tourism and Leisure Cllr Neil Stanley said, “The success of the Piper Appeal demonstrates the public support of Towner and its aims to add to its renowned collection.
“What better way to mark such a popular and successful summer exhibition than with the purchase of two key works by that were inspired by the locality, bringing them home on a permanent basis.”
Both the Piper works depict Newhaven as their subject matter yet have a very different feel, demonstrating Piper’s rapid development during a critical time when he was at the forefront of critical debate and practice within British Art.
The works were produced when Piper was staying at Furlongs, an important artistic community in East Sussex, and celebrate a unique aspect of 20th century art in the heart of the South Downs.
The new Piper acquisitions demonstrate his love of the Sussex coastline and close connection to the Sussex landscape, and complement Towner’s world renowned Ravilious collection, with both pieces of art being produced during a time of close interaction between the two artists.
The purchase appeal raised an additional £9,800 which in-keeping with best practice and the donors’ intentions, will be ring-fenced for use to support future purchases of related artists for the Towner Collection.
The acquired Piper works are currently being rested in the Collection Store following their display in the summer exhibition but will be shown once again in the next collection display this spring.
For more information on the Towner Collection or to find out what’s on go to www.townereastbourne.org.uk or call 434670.