Towner’s ‘best’ go on display

Jem Southam - Rye Harbour, River Rother
Jem Southam - Rye Harbour, River Rother

THE TOWNER art gallery relies upon the generosity of artists, collectors and the public - and its new display gives visitors the chance to see some of the most significant works in the Towner Collection, find out how they ended up in Eastbourne and get to know the people behind the gifts.

The works on show range from a rarely seen 16th century triptych to a contemporary light sculpture donated after Towner’s opening exhibition by Ivàn Navarro – with Eric Ravilious (including ceramics), Edward Bawden, Christopher Wood, Paul Nash and many more.

The story begins with the very first bequest of 22 paintings, which started the Towner Collection.

Several of these Victorian paintings – donated by Alderman John Chisholm Towner in 1920 to the people of Eastbourne, along with a sum of money to establish an ‘art gallery for the people’ – are on show.

Sketches for the Berwick Church murals by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell reveal an interesting insight into this fascinating wartime collaboration between the church and the renowned Bloomsbury artists – while the gallery is delighted to be able to present a number of works from the exceptional recent gift of 22 paintings by Arthur & Helen Grogan through The Art Fund, including George Clausen’s Girl’s Head from 1887.

Matthew Rowe, artistic director of the Towner, said, “We are most grateful to all those who have given to the Towner Collection through the ages.

“This display allows us to celebrate this all-important philanthropy, and show how it has shaped the collection into, what is, one of the most internationally significant public art collections in the UK today.”

The Art of Giving runs at the gallery until October 9 and is free to visit.