Getting the ball rolling again…

Following a bit of a break, a new Art Research Officer has been put in post for The Art of Football project. Hi! I will be working at the National Football Museum on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, looking at what art works are currently in the museum collection, identifying the gaps we hope to fill, researching what art works are currently for sale and those in upcoming auctions etc. I will be using the sale catalogue for the 1953 Football and Fine Arts competition as my starting point (not this delicate copy, I must add!).

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Football and the Fine Arts catalogue, 1953.

Initially, I have been getting to know the rest of the team here at the National Football Museum, reading up on the project’s outline and progress so far and doing the slightly less glamorous, but highly important jobs such as setting up budget spreadsheets and project timelines.

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Sketchbook belonging to the artist Gerald Cains.

On Tuesday 4th May the Head of Collections and Exhibitions and I met with the son of Gerald Cains. Gerald’s oil painting, ‘Saturday Taxpayers’ (1953),  is in the National Football Museum’s permanent collection, and was entered into the 1953 Football and Fine Arts competition of the same year.  You can read a previous post about Gerald and his painting here, which includes an excerpt of the oral history interview conducted with him back in April 2015.  Gerald’s son brought with him the original sketchbook with preliminary drawings for the painting, which was really beautiful to see. It is possible that we will be able to purchase some or all of these artworks for the collection, which would mark the first purchase of the project!  It would be great to reunite the initial sketches with the oil painting, to show the complete story.  A nice little anecdote we heard from Gerald’s son was that prior to being sold in the 1980s, ‘Saturday Taxpayers’  hung in his bedroom! As a child, he was sad to see his father’s painting go! I wonder what he replaced it with…

 

I’ll report on the progress with this project again very soon. Thanks again to the Heritage Lottery Fund for awarding the Collecting Cultures grant money to the National Football Museum, and of course to the players of the National Lottery which is how the grants are funded.

Emma

Iconic Football Art on Display

A selection of highlights from the National Football Museum’s surprising art collection have gone on display in Manchester for the first time.

Exhibited as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures project ‘The Art Of Football’, this small selection of highlights from the museum’s collection features a range of art that takes football as its inspiration.

A number of artworks displayed are from 1953; the same year L.S. Lowry’s iconic Going To The Match won the inaugural Football And Fine Arts competition arranged by The FA and the newly-formed Arts Council.

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Gerald Cains on Saturday Taxpayers (1953)

On Tuesday 14th of April Sally Hawley and John O’Shea travelled to Bristol’s Royal West of England Academy to meet with Gerald Cains – painter of “Saturday Taxpayers”.

Using a small digital sound recorder we conducted some oral history recordings relating to:

  • Gerald’s memory of the 1953 exhibition
  • his inspiration for this specific work
  • the development of his painting in the time since then (including his entry to 2006/07’s One Love exhibition at the Lowry in Salford)
  • his thoughts regards football as a topic for art

The interview took a little over an hour and the resulting recordings have been added to an archive folder on our server for further research. Published below is is short excerpt where Gerald Cains describes his initial inspiration for the work Saturday Taxpayers”:

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Art History – Part 2 (discussion)

Having engaged with a range of works on display (see Art History Primer – Part 1) the second part of the day involved a much closer examination, with members of the NFM Collections Team (Dr. Alex Jackson and Sally Hawley) of an item which had been specially brought to Manchester from museum’s collection, (the majority of which is held in Preston).

Gerald Cains’ “Saturday Taxpayers” is a painting which was created for the 1953 “Football and the Fine Arts” exhibition, a collaborative between the Football Association and the newly formed Arts Council of Great Britain and a seminal moment in the history of “football art”.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/saturday-taxpayers-228850

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Art History – Part 1 (tour)

On 23rd of March Dr. Mike O’Mahony brought a group of undergraduate Art History students from University of Bristol to the National Football Museum (NFM) in Manchester. Mike and our guest, painter Dominic Heffer, initiated our programme of staff training by facilitating a series of informed discussions between the art history students and NFM’s collections team.

 

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Researching the Existing Collection

Sally Hawley, Collections Officer at National Football Museum has been assigned as the main point of contact between the project and the NFM collection and has begun some preliminary research in order to:

  • Identify specific 1953 related items, history and artists represented within our collections and available to us on loan.
  • What existing print items do we have? What are their materials? etc.
  • What are the storage, conservation and display needs around:
    • paintings
    • illustrations
    • prints

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Project Dissemination

Article in University of Bristol School of Humanities Newsletter:

Dr Mike O’Mahony to work with the National Football Museum on A Heritage Lottery Fund Project.

The National Football Museum has received a grant of £199,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Collecting Cultures scheme in order to expand its collection of artworks inspired by or depicting the beautiful game. Mike O’Mahony will advise the NFM on acquisition as well as setting up workshops with the Museum curatorial staff to develop programmes for promoting and presenting the extensive art collection of the museum to the public. The three-year project will conclude with an exhibition displaying new acquisitions alongside other works from the collection.

Mike O’Mahony has previously worked with the museum advising them on loan acquisitions, including Picasso’s Footballeur (1965) and Charles Ernest Cundall’s A Chelsea Cup Tie (1923).

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