Inspired by Gothic: Ruins, Romance, Revival

21 March 2016

A major exhibition exploring the Gothic Revival in Cheshire has opened at Chester’s Grosvenor Museum.  ‘Inspired by Gothic: Ruins, Romance, Revival’ runs until 26 June.  

The medieval past has often been seen in romantic terms – idealised as an age of faith and chivalry, its evocative remains stirring the emotions and encouraging a fascination with antiquity and a love of tradition.  It has been a rich source of inspiration for the arts in Cheshire.
 
The Norman earls of Chester have long symbolised the city’s pride in her antiquity, and artists through the ages have delighted in depicting medieval buildings, as in the work of the Chester artists George Cuitt and William Monk.
 
Cheshire has a wealth of Gothic Revival architecture, seen supremely in successive phases of Eaton Hall and the restorations of Chester Cathedral, and both houses and churches were equipped in the Gothic style.
 
Chester’s medieval heritage has generated diverse cultural expressions, such as the Mystery Plays and the Historical Pageants, and continues to inform and inspire the city’s life today.
 
The exhibition has been generously supported by the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust and the Chester Archaeological Society, together with the Grosvenor Museum Society, the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Robert Stones Bequest and the Tyrer Charitable Trust.
 
Councillor Louise Gittins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Health and Wellbeing, said:  “This exhibition comprises over one hundred exhibits, including prints and watercolours, drawings and paintings, woodwork and textiles, photography and music.  They offer multiple perspectives on the extraordinarily rich subject of the Gothic Revival in Cheshire.” Clive Pointon, Chairman of the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust said:  “The Trust has funded the conservation of many of the artworks in this exhibition.  We are very pleased to support the Grosvenor Museum in this way, facilitating the long-term care of the collection and enabling the public to enjoy these fascinating pictures.”
 
Dan Garner, Chairman of the Chester Archaeological Society, said: “The Society recently donated its collection of Cheshire prints to the Grosvenor Museum, and many of the pictures in the exhibition are drawn from our donation.  We are delighted that our gift is being used in this way, enabling the public to understand and enjoy the riches of Cheshire’s cultural heritage.”
 
The programme of accompanying adult events includes:
  • Saturday 30 April; Wednesdays 11 & 25 May; Saturday 4, Wednesday 8, Saturday 11 & Wednesday 22 June, Chester Cathedral Tours with Nick Fry
  • Wednesday 13 April, ‘Tombs in Beowulf’ lecture by Professor Howard Williams
  • Wednesday 13 April, ‘The Chester Cathedral Estate’ lecture by the Revd Canon Peter Howell-Jones
  • Tuesday 19 April, ‘Dead Relevant? Mortuary Archaeology in Contemporary Society’, the 2016 University of Chester Archaeology Student Conference
  • Wednesday 20 April, ‘Tombs of Terror: The Hunt for Weland’ lecture by Professor Howard Williams
  • Thursday 21 April, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, a group reading
  • Wednesday 27 April, ‘Powerful Tombs: The Medieval Living Dead’ lecture by Professor Howard Williams
  • Thursday 28 April, Gothic Literature Workshop with Chris Mapp
  • Thursday 5 and Monday 23 May, Tours of Gothic Revival Chester with the Guild of Chester Tour Guides 
There is also a programme of family activities:
  • Tuesday 5 April, Make a Gothic City
  • Thursday 7 April, Stained Glass Rose Windows
  • Tuesday 12 April, Angels’ Wings
  • Thursday 14 April, Creepy Tales by Candlelight
  • Tuesday 31 May, Gothic Feast
  • Thursday 2 June, Mad Gothic Hats
  • Saturday 11 June, Minstrels’ Court
  • Saturday 11 June, Midsummer Watch Workshop
  • Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 June, Midsummer Watch Parade 
The Grosvenor Museum is open Monday – Saturday 10.30am - 5pm and Sunday 1pm - 4pm, admission free, donations welcome. 

Dan Garner, Chairman of the Chester Archaeological Society; Clive Pointon, Chairman of the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust; Councillor Louise Gittins, Deputy Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council; and Peter Boughton, the Grosvenor Museum’s Keeper of Art.
Dan Garner, Chairman of the Chester Archaeological Society; Clive Pointon, Chairman of the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust; Councillor Louise Gittins, Deputy Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council; and Peter Boughton, the Grosvenor Museum’s Keeper of Art.

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