Image: Mashing Mugs by Bartholomew Beal, oil on canvas © Foundation Derbyshire

From February 14th Derby Museums is inviting people to explore the making process and artistic progression of both modernist sculptor Ronald Pope and seven artists who have all won the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award and worked in Derbyshire to create work inspired by its landscape and people through two new linked exhibitions – Process and Progress.

The first exhibition shows work from artists that have previously won the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award from their residency in Derbyshire alongside some of their work today and explores their different creative journeys since then.

This biennial Award was established by Foundation Derbyshire in 1998 with the help of a legacy from the estate of the late Jonathan Vickers, a lifelong lover of fine arts. It is one of the most prestigious art competitions in the country and receives international recognition.

The successful artist receives a bursary to base themselves in Derbyshire for a year, at a studio in Banks Mill to produce art work based on the theme ‘A Sense of Place’. Support and mentoring for the artist is provided by the University of Derby’s College of Arts and their year culminates in a final exhibition at Derby Museums and Mall Galleries in London. The residency also involves local people through education and community outreach as a key component and this is supported by funding from Rolls-Royce.

The second exhibition focuses on the Derbyshire sculptor, Ronald Pope (1920-1997) who created works in stone, metal and wood that can be found in dozens of locations across the Midlands including schools, churches, public and private buildings.

Pope, although influenced by the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, developed highly individual sculpture over four decades, drawing inspiration for much of his work from landscape from the Derbyshire Peak District.

Ronald Pope at work in his studio © Artist’s Estate/Derby Museums

Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums says:

“Both Ronald Pope and the winners of the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award take their inspiration the natural and industrial landscapes of Derbyshire. Pope’s practice was shaped by his job at Rolls-Royce; he uses welding and bracing in many of his sculptures. Pope deserves far greater recognition as a leading British sculptor.

The artists represented in the Vickers’ retrospective show a variety of landscapes, details of industrial buildings and interpretations of the heritage of Derbyshire. Over the past 20 years the work produced by these artists has shown consistent depth and inventiveness.

The exhibition will be one of the most varied and fascinating held at the museum for many years.”

Process and Progress opens on Friday 14th February and runs until Sunday 10th May at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on The Strand. Admission is free and we invite people to ‘Give What You Think’ as a donation to enable Derby Museums to continue to bring fantastic exhibitions to the city and to keep our museums free for everyone.