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Painting a picture of the Blackdown Hills

( Last Updated: 12-01-2018 )


This spring, an exhibition of the work of the Camden Town Group, a circle of artists known for their paintings of the Blackdown Hills, is taking place at The Museum of Somerset.

A Fragile Beauty: Art on the Blackdown Hills 1909 to 1925

Museum of Somerset, 25 March - 8 July

This free exhibition celebrates a very significant moment in the art of the West Country and includes works by Spencer Gore, Charles Ginner, Robert Bevan and Walter Sickert which have been borrowed from a range of public and private collections.

Find out more about A Fragile Beauty


Events to complement the exhibition

To complement the exhibition, events will be happening both at The Museum of Somerset and out in the Blackdown Hills AONB. These provide a fantastic opportunity to get to know the Blackdown Hills a little better and appreciate the beauty of this precious landscape.

Celebrated but seedy: the life of Walter Sickert

Thursday 27 April

A talk by Richard Kay, art historian and Director of Pictures at Lawrences, Crewkerne.

Beauty and the Blackdowns: family fun day

Saturday 29 April

Fun-filled children’s activities inspired by the Camden Town artists and the landscape of the Blackdown Hills.

Making patterns in the landscape: art workshop

Thursday 4 May

Particularly suitable for people with memory loss or those who may find it difficult to visit the Blackdown Hills.

The Blackdown Hills: a landscape of patterns and pictures

Friday 12 May

A talk on the Blackdown Hills' distinct landscape by Linda Bennett, Blackdown Hills AONB Manager.

In the footsteps of the Camden Town artists

Sunday 18 June

Explore the Blackdown Hills’ fields, lanes and buildings which feature in the paintings of the Camden Town artists.


The Camden Town Group

The Camden Town artists were English Post-Impressionist artists working in the early 20th century. Named after the area in North London where the artists lived and worked, the Group were influenced by French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters.

Initially they portrayed contemporary urban life, but some of the Camden Town artists were drawn to the countryside. Harold Harrison, who was educated at the Slade School of Art, bought the Applehayes estate at Clayhidon in 1909 and began hosting visits by a number of members of the Camden Town Group.

Of the original members of the Group Robert Bevan, Charles Ginner and Spencer Gore painted most prolifically in the Blackdown Hills. Their work in this area celebrates an apparently idyllic rural scene just before the First World War changed English society forever.

Taking inspiration from artists such as Paul Gaugin and Vincent van Gogh, the works are made up of blocks of colour and pay great homage to the area’s landscape, much of which is unchanged to this day.

The Museum has partnered with the fine art auctioneers, Lawrence’s of Crewkerne who, together with private donors and the Blackdown Hills AONB, have sponsored the exhibition.

The programme of complementary events is being delivered in association with the exhibition, including with the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. ‘A Fragile Beauty’ is being created in partnership with Somerset-based curators and art historians Denys Wilcox and Richard Emeny.

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Planning a visit or looking for something to do this weekend? Check the Diary of Events here

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