Albert Wainwright at The Hepworth

Family of Man

Family of Man by Barbara Hepworth outside The Hepworth, Wakefield

After spending some time admiring the Tissot display I decided to move on and see what else the Gallery had on show this autumn beside the spaces devoted to Barbara Hepworth herself.

Hepworth Winged Figure

In the background Hepworth’s Winged Figure (1961-62)

I found another display centred on works from The Wakefield Art Collection – In Focus : Albert Wainwright. Wainwright was born in nearby Castleford in 1898. At the time of writing, the link to his display at The Hepworth tells you about a different so artist so here is something about him.

From his school days he was a friend of Henry Moore, who became world famous as a sculptor. Albert’s life was not a long one (he was only 45 when he died) and he never became famous like his friend, but it is easy to see from his work that he was a talented artist with a colourful imagination and a strong personal style. Throughout his life he designed programmes, stage sets and costumes for the theatre and an impressive range of this work is now in the collection at The Hepworth Wakefield.

Over 30 years Albert created a number of sketchbooks which record his travels abroad and parts of his life, such as his time with the Flying Corps in the First World War.”

AW Sketchbooks

I particularly liked the travel ‘journals’ or sketchbooks which he made on his trips to Germany.

Whitby map

His Map of Whitby

Where's Albert?

And his “Where’s Wally” or rather, Albert, at “Robin’s Hood Bay” (1930)

“The Wainwright faamily took a summer home at Robin Hood’s Bay during the 1930s. Visits to the bay became an annual occasion for the Wainwrights, who became part of the close-knit community there. Wainwright made a modest income from painting his fellow holidaymakers and their families. In this picture all are imaginary except a self-portrait of the artist centre left, wearing glasses and carrying a walking stick.” [Picture notes]

There's Albert

There’s Albert!

We don't live here any more

And, the poignant and wistful “We don’t live here any more” (1937)

This painting depicts the view from the window (possibly his studio) of Bramley Cottage at Robin Hood’s Bay. “The placement of the book on the table “Strange Brother” written 1931 by Blair Niles, is significant because it provides an early and objective documentation of homosexual issues in 1920s New York, and is a deliberate allusion to Wainwright’s own sexual identity.” [Picture notes]

There is a selection of books on a table for visitors to look at including a reprinted copy of “Strange Brother“.


17 comments on “Albert Wainwright at The Hepworth

  1. ms6282 says:

    When I saw the title of this post I thought it was about Alfred Wainwright – the well known writer of the walking guides! He was no mean draftsman himself, of course. And that picture does look like it was a Where’s Wally.

    Not been to the Hepworth for a while. What’s the new space in the old warehouse like? Or have you got a post coming up on that?

    • I did consider whether I should point out the difference but decided that ‘my readers’ were intelligent enough to realise ;-). I’m afraid (or am pleased to say??) I didn’t visit the new space. It didn’t even register with me until I was leaving the building and realised that was where Roger Hiorns work was hanging out. No more Hepworth posts from this visit; off on another walk …

  2. ravingreader says:

    This sounds (and looks) like an interesting display. I’m not familiar with Albert, but have heard of his friend Henry Moore. That last pic seems to remind me of Ravilious, but not sure why. You’re lucky to visit some great places and thanks for sharing. I get to travel armchair-style through your blog!

  3. Julie Stivers says:

    They remind me of Kate Greenaway.

  4. Nilly says:

    I’d never heard of this Wainright either – much more fun (I think!) than Barbara Hepworth.

  5. ms6282 says:

    We went to the Hepworth today. I enjoyed the Wainwright exhibition too. An excellent draftsman and many of his pictures, particularly the sketchbooks (i liked the way they had extracts available to view on ipads) show humour and insight too.

    • What a day for leaving the armchair; I have yet to see the sun at The Hepworth. I wonder if you managed to see the W A Ismay Collection. I read about it when I got home last and regretted not seeing it. Glad you liked the Wainwright though.

      • ms6282 says:

        Yes. We looked at all the exhibitions. The Ismay collection was something else. What a fascinating, eccentric character.

  6. I must try to get there before the end of the month.

  7. […] paintings, drawings and sketches by local artist Albert Wainwright (recommended by Barbara of Milady's Boudoir) who went to school woth Henry Moore, and, last but not least, the marvelous installation by […]

  8. […] Thursday I revisited The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. I went back specifically to see the Matthew Darbyshire installation of pots […]

  9. […] Alfred!) also painted scenes of the village. The Hepworth Gallery own some of his works and we saw an exhibition of them there a few years […]

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