The history of the building which today houses Scarborough Art Gallery began in 1828, when local solicitor and Town Clerk, John Uppleby, in partnership with local builders John Barry and his brother William, bought the land on which The Crescent would be built from the wealthy local banker and shipowner, John Tindall. In 1830, the York architect Richard Hey Sharp and his brother Samuel were commissioned to draw up plans for the site.
Crescent Villa was the last of the villas to be built, erected in 1845 as a home for John Uppleby and his family. After John’s death in 1856, his wife and family continued to live in the house until her death in 1881, at which time it was bought by Edward Chivers Bower, father of the sculptor Lady Ethel Alice Chivers Harris and the great grandfather of Katharine, Duchess of Kent.
Bower renamed the house ‘Broxholme’ after his family seat near Doncaster.
Photo: Doc Brown
Following Henry Donner’s death, the house was purchased by Scarborough Corporation in 1942 for £3000 and for five years was used as a welfare clinic and children’s nursery. The clinic moved out in February 1947 and the Corporation decided to turn the building into a public art gallery.
The Scarborough Art Gallery opened to the public on 17 November 1947.
The permanent collection includes paintings donated by famous hotelier Tom Laughton, the brother of the film star and actor Charles Laughton.
Detail from a 1931 map of Scarborough by Edward Bawden – Scarborough Museums Trust collection
Both Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden, who were close friends, became acquainted with Tom Laughton, who acted as a patron, particularly to Bawden and commissioned pieces from him to adorn his hotels.
I visit Scarborough at least once a year – travelling by train from my home in Stockport and one occasion cycling from Hull.
Whilst visiting, a visit to the gallery is almost de rigueur.
This year I had a particular interest in the gallery’s photographic exhibition Squaring The Circles
The works on show demonstrate radical and experimental investigations into the process of making photographs. From cyanotypes and daguerreotypes to pinhole and cameraless imagery, the exhibition blurs the boundaries between art and photography, resulting in an expressive, otherworldly, and inspiring display.
Exhibiting photographers include Takashi Arai, Angela Chalmers, David Chalmers, Susan Derges Hon FRPS, David George, Joy Gregory Hon FRPS, Tom Hunter Hon FRPS, Ian Phillips McLaren, Céline Bodin and Spencer Rowell.
Curated by Zelda Cheatle Hon FRPS.
I turned up paid my three pounds for an annual pass and looked around.
This is what I saw inside and out.
The show’s full title was Squaring the Circles of Confusion – here’s some information to dispel the confusion
Not top be confused with the Ball of Confusion.
Go see the show.