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!).

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.

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.


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