AN EXHIBITION continues this week offering visitors the first solo showcase of paintings by rising young artist Bartholomew Beal
‘Saint Mondays – and thereby hangs a tale’, runs until Sunday, November 10.
The exhibition is inspired by Derbyshire’s folklore, people and the rich history of the Derwent Valley.
It is a culmination of a year’s work by Bartholomew, the current holder of Derbyshire Community Foundation’s biennial Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award.
During the year Bartholomew has spent time absorbing the stories and traditions connected with the industrial history of the Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site.
One of his first sources was the songs of Lucy Ward, the celebrated local folk singer, whose ‘Alice in the Bacon Box’ - a Holbrook woman who lived rough for 20 years in a large bacon box in the early 1900s - has inspired several paintings in his exhibition.
His researches uncovered many colourful stories, such as the ‘Nailers of Belper’, men whose jobs were made redundant by industrialisation.
They were heavy drinkers and a notoriously unruly bunch who set aside ‘Saint Mondays’ to recover from the weekends’ excesses.
Bartholomew - a First Class graduate of London’s Wimbledon College of Art, one of the UK’s finest art schools – said: “As a child I was fascinated by Joseph Wright’s ‘Experiment with an Air Pump’.
“To have found myself in his hometown with an opportunity to submerge myself in the county and learn the secrets and stories of a place that is new to me has been an exciting challenge.
“My aim has been to translate my growing love for this place and its folklore into dramatic figures and spaces for my exhibition - ‘Thereby hangs a tale’- hanging quite literally from the gallery wall.”
Alongside Bartholomew’s exhibition, Derby Museum and Art Gallery are also holding an exhibition, ‘Drawn by Light and Shade’, comprising work produced by pupils at four local schools
The students worked with Bartholomew and Derby Museums to create their own portraits.
To find out more about the exhibition or the foundation itself, visit the website at www.derbyshirecommunityfoundation.co.uk