Press Release: Thursday 23 November

Marion Adnams: a Singular Woman, is the first exhibition devoted to Adnams in almost fifty years, and the first to explore the full and diverse range of her work. The exhibition will be on display at Derby Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday 2 December 2017 until Sunday 4 March 2018.

Adnams was born at the family home on Otter Street, Derby, in 1898 where she lived, for the most part, until her death in 1995. During the course of her long life, she forged a reputation as a painter of deeply distinctive and dream like visions. Some of these paintings resemble the works of surrealist artists, including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Paul Nash, but Adnams’ paintings also reflect an individualism which stemmed, in part, from her own unique perspective and interest in the natural world. Throughout, Derby provided a rich source of material for Marion, whose vivid imagination was formed at an early age. The Derbyshire landscape, particularly the landscape of the White Peak, was an important influence on her early work. Significantly however, Adnams never provided explanations for her work, believing that it should be interpreted as people wished.

Adnams worked in Derby for much of her life as an art teacher, painting at the weekend and exhibiting her work with the Midland Group of artists at Nottingham, and further afield in London. When she retired in 1961, Adnams embraced the opportunity to work full-time as a professional artist, dividing her time between derby and southern France where she had acquired a second home. Sadly, within just eight years, failing eyesight as a result of macular degenerative disorder had forced her to stop painting altogether.

This exhibition brings together work by Adnams from the Derby Museums collection, as well as paintings, drawings, prints, and personal objects on loan from both private collections and many important civic collections, including Manchester Art Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Nottingham Castle Museum, and Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

Lucy Bamford, Senior Curator of Fine Art at Derby Museums said:
“We’re thrilled to be hosting this exhibition of Marion Adnams’ work. Despite having achieved recognition and commercial success during her own lifetime, she has since become something of a forgotten artist. This exhibition finally gives us a chance to redress this and introduce her remarkable vision to a new generation.”

The exhibition has been curated in partnership with Val Wood, independent researcher, and Teresa Forde, Senior Lecturer in Film and Media, at the University of Derby.

Image: ‘For Lo, Winter is Past’, by Marion Adnams, 1963, oil on board. © Derby Museums Trust the artist’s estate.

Images >

For more information, please contact Emma Hallam / 01332 641925.

Notes to Editors

Derby Museums
Founded in 2012, Derby Museums Trust is an independent charitable trust which is responsible for the rich cultural and creative history of Derby. It manages three sites across the city, the Museum and Art Gallery, Pickford’s House and The Silk Mill, and holds and curates all the art and collections within them, including the world’s largest collection of paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby.

The Trust’s aim is to bring as many of the objects and treasures in the collections into the public domain as is practically possible and present them in ways that delight and inspire, via education and learning programmes, events and exhibitions, in order to share knowledge and inspire creativity and making amongst the people of Derby. As a charitable trust, Derby Museums relies on funding and grants from organisations and donations from businesses and the general public, all of which is gratefully received in order to ensure that admission to the museums remains free for all.

The Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

Derby Museums has secured major grant funding of £9.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £2.5m from Arts Council England, £4m from Derby City Council via the Local Growth Fund, and support from a range of charitable trusts and foundations for the £16.4m development to create the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill. The project will open up the whole of the Silk Mill, creating beautiful spaces to inspire our visitors and will provide access to 100% of Derby Museums’ collections of Making and Social History.  The new museum will have our communities at its heart and be uniquely co-produced with the people of Derby over the next few years and is due to open in 2020.

Arts Council England

Derby Museums has been funded by Arts Council England since 2012 to deliver improved museum facilities and services in Derby. From April 2018 Derby Museums will become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.