Pallant House Gallery is one of a number of fine art spaces outside London along the South Coast. It contains one of the best collections of Modern and twentieth century British Art in the U.K. The collection is based on a gift of the ex Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Walter Hussey in 1977. There have been other gifts since then. The collection contains important works by the likes of British Artists Graham Sutherland, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Hamilton and Henry Moore.
Pallant House, itself is a gem, architecturally, with its juxtaposition between eighteenth century Queen Anne style, and an award winning twentieth century extension. The original building was built for Henry Packham, a wealthy London wine merchant in 1712. The ostriches which greet the visitor at the older entrance are an emblem of the Packham family. The new extension was designed by Colin Wilson and winner of the Gulbenkian Museum Prize in 2007. This prize has now been incorporated into the Art Fund Museum of the Year, often reported on this web site.
Pop Art is the theme of the current exhibition, which of course has not been open but is available to see through the Museum’s website. Pop Art a seemingly American creation is actually an ‘ism’ that started in Whitechapel in London and British Pop Art can be regarded as a specific genre.
Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) could be regarded as the father of British Pop Art and is the feature of the Pallant House Exhibition: Richard Hamilton Respective. In the words of the curator “This exhibition brings together the full-range of work by Hamilton in our collection. It includes internationally important works including Hers is a Lush Situation (1958) and Swingeing London 67 (1968) alongside early studies from the 1950s and later works from the 1970s onwards that reveal his engagement with new digital technology. Behind the sense of playfulness in his work lies an enquiring mind able to create visual and verbal puns that explore and challenge the way we understand images and which still resonate today.”
Although the gallery remains closed you may want to join the Zoom digital Conference on 25th February entitled Richard Hamilton: Ways of Seeing in a Modern World. Just activate the link for details. British Pop Art is well worth the effort in beginning to understand the very powerful changes taking place in the cultural horizon in the fifties and sixties. It’s not everyday you will see images of Mick Jagger in suit (albeit pale green) shirt and tie!
© Pallant House Press information and the Estate of Richard Hamilton