|How's that for Folk Art? Lady Godiva Clock, Coventry, with tile mural by Peggy Angus|
Here was a portrait of an art lover whose watchwords seemed to be refinement and modesty - a patron whose genteel good taste and position in the art establishment greatly assisted the careers of Henry Moore, John Piper, Graham Sutherland and other artists of equally rare sensibility.
A bit of a shock, then, to go from the world of 'Civilisation' to the multifarious oddities of British Folk Art, an exhibition which is probably more popular than its debonair rival but which must have been fairly nightmarish to curate. I mean where do you begin? What do you include? The curators seem to have taken a similar approach to Barbara Jones in her wonderful book 'The Unsophisticated Arts', in that they have gathered together work that shares certain characteristics but without trying to define it too closely or to include everything.
|Buy the new edition from Little Toller!|
|Eric Ravilious, 'Saddler' from High Street|
|And his model... white horse outside a Sudbury pub|
|A work of art in itself... check out more wonderful illustrations here|
Great art, she would argue, requires both great artists and great patrons - people with taste, vision and money. At different periods and in different places patronage has been provided by monarchs, aristocrats, religious organisations and the state. Kenneth Clark pushed the British government into state patronage of the arts when he set up the War Artists Advisory Committee in 1939; Piper, Moore and Sutherland prospered.
|Peggy's tile mural in the foyer of Lansbury Lawrence School, Poplar|
|Paintings & wallpaper by Mark Hearld, hung Peggy Angus-style at Towner|
And when you've had a good look round her exhibition, head downstairs to Nathaniel Hepburn's elegant show 'Designing the Everyday', which brings together the work of numerous talented artist-designers. There are Ravilious ceramics that seem, on first sight, to be hovering against the wall with no visible means of support, some striking Shell posters, and, to bring us up to date, a room devoted to the talented designers of St Judes. Highlights include chairs upholstered in printed fabrics and Mark Hearld's wallpaper - the latter proof that, twenty years after Peggy's death, her spirit permeates British art and design.
FFI: Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter at Towner, Eastbourne, July 12 - Sept 21
'Peggy Angus: Designer Teacher, Painter' by James Russell, Antique Collectors Club.
Designing the Everyday at Towner, until 31 August
Kenneth Clark at Tate Britain, until 10 August
British Folk Art at Tate Britain, until 31 August