28/03/2009 — 9/05/2009

The good and the bad or the

loved and the unloved

Julian Trevelyn, 'Valentine', 1936. Etching

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society

This exhibition of Grundy’s permanent collection brought together a diverse range of objects, placing works of disparate qualities within the same show. It highlighted the complexities of the collection, which ranges from Victorian painting to Roman coins, and gifts from the Contemporary Art Society to gifts from the Blackpool Art Society.

Grundy’s collection preceded the building of the gallery.  In 1908 Blackpool Council received a bequest of thirty-three artworks from brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy on the condition that a gallery be built to house them. The gallery opened in 1911. A purchase fund for new artworks was set up in 1912, and by the late 1930s the collection and the ambition for it had outgrown the original building. An extension of two extra galleries was built and opened in 1938. The collection now contains close to two thousand objects.

The collection was originally built through the efforts of Council dignitaries and the generosity of individuals. The lack of an acquisitions policy until relatively recently meant that the collection grew organically rather than strategically and it contains an eclectic mix of objects, which is illustrative of amateur arts practice and collecting, as well as works of recognised historical importance.

By bringing the objects together in this way, the exhibition disregarded the recognised curatorial value of the collection and instead presented a platform upon which to allow its viewers an opportunity to determine their own values on the works on show.


The second installment of this exhibition will be shown from 23 May to 11 July 09