Wolverhampton Art Gallery will present the Wolverhampton Society of Artists (WSA) Centenary exhibition this December.

It features a selection of members’ works which celebrate the centenary of the Society and explore Wolverhampton’s connections to art, textiles and the manufacturing industry over the past century.

Opening on Saturday 14 December, the exhibition will feature paintings, drawings and sculptures by WSA’s alumni, including Robert Jackson Emerson, Mary Gwenillian Gibson and Edwin Butler Bayliss, alongside works by current members of the Society.

The exhibition will also feature The Bloomsbury Effect, a special display of 3 early 20th century British paintings by leading figures of the Bloomsbury Group and one of their avant garde contemporaries, on loan from the Courtauld Gallery, London.

The display includes Still Life at the Window by Vanessa Bell (1923), Self Portrait by Roger Fry (1928), and Blackfriars Bridge, London (1927) by C.R.W. Nevinson.

The ongoing collaboration with The Courtauld Gallery aims to share its collection with audiences across the UK, particularly in areas where Courtaulds Ltd once had a significant industrial presence. 

The construction of the rayon producing plant at Dunstall, Wolverhampton, in 1925 to 1926, was one of the largest factories in the Courtaulds group and represented the company's more general expansion into several areas of the country. It also brought a new kind of industry to the town.

The project has been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

City of Wolverhampton Council Manager: Arts and Culture, Marguerite Nugent, said: ‘Wolverhampton has had major involvement with the art and industrial movement and this exhibition connects both.

“The Courtauld is a world class institute and we are privileged to have these works on loan.

“The society is also prestigious, and it is a joy to have their work on display again and the history of the society to be showcased to all visitors.”

Barnaby Wright, Deputy Head of The Courtauld Gallery, said: “We are thrilled to take forward our partnership with Wolverhampton Art Gallery with the loan of 3 exceptional works and to provide an opportunity for the Wolverhampton community to experience and enjoy these remarkable modern paintings from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection.”

The exhibition runs until Sunday 16 February, and admission is free. For further information on the exhibition and accompanying events visit Wolverhampton Arts and Culture.    

To attend the free private view on 14 December, at 12pm, email art.gallery@wolverhampton.gov.uk or call 01902 552055.

Call for volunteers

Wolverhampton Art Gallery is also looking for volunteers who are interested in researching and recording oral histories about The Courtaulds Factory in Wolverhampton (1927 to 1970).

Volunteers will record oral histories and collect photos or documents that tell the stories of people who worked at the Courtaulds Factory. Volunteers will receive ‘An Introduction to Oral History’ training and learn digital skills. 

The documents will feature in exhibition at the City of Wolverhampton Archives in 2020. 

For more information or to express an interest in volunteering, please email artsandheritage@wolverhampton.gov.uk.