We were delighted to present The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Collection to auction in October 2021, where the white glove sale was led by Dame Barbara Hepworth's Figure and Mirror, 1948 which achieved a new world record for a picture by the artist. Achieving a 100% selling rate, the auction presented works from Barns-Graham’s private collection of paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery by members of the St Ives School.
Scottish and St Ives-based artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, CBE (1912-2004) was a pivotal figure in the famous St Ives School and her collection allows us to chart the friendships and the often symbiotic professional relationships that abounded across disciplines during this important moment in British art history. Artists and makers in the collection include: Terry Frost; Barbara Hepworth; Patrick Heron; Roger & Rose Hilton; Bernard & Janet Leach; Denis Mitchell; Ben & Kate Nicholson; Breon O’Casey; Alfred Wallis and Bryan Wynter.
Charlotte Riordan, Lyon & Turnbull's Head of Contemporary & Post-War Art, commented:
“The St Ives School was a diverse, important and exciting moment. Barns-Graham’s collection is a special insight into who, what, where, and why this was the case. It also contextualises Barns-Graham herself as a significant figure in this history.”
In 1987 Barns-Graham established a charitable Trust that aims, through exhibitions, publications, online resources and an active gifting programme to public museums and galleries, to promote and broaden the understanding and reputation of her work to as wide an audience as possible as well supporting new generations of artists in their work and education.
Since 2006, the WBGT has donated over £1,000,000 through grants to support artists, awards, travel bursaries, PHD students, educational projects, exhibition sponsorship and through gifting artworks by Barns-Graham to museums and galleries across the UK. Supporting artists’ development, summer schools in Fife and St Ives and a significant contribution to Tate St Ives’ re-opening education programme have been aimed at the younger generation, while bursaries in higher education support travel abroad and provide financial assistance to enable students to complete their studies successfully. Working closely with the Royal Scottish Academy and Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, WBGT supports residencies for more established artists, encouraging career development and new ways of thinking and working.
“Funds raised from this sale will allow the Trust to extend this ambitious financial support for artists and art education, which was so central to Barns-Graham’s wishes for the Trust and who need support now more than ever as we emerge from the devastating impact of Covid-19. It will also enable us to increase the accessibility to both the art and archive collections through conservation, publications, exhibitions and web-based resources.”
- Rob Airey, Director of the WBGT
The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Collection was shown alongside our Autumn 2021 edition of the bi-annual MODERN MADE auction at The Mall Galleries in London.