Exhibition celebrating Derbyshire artists, past and present, opens at Derby Museums

Friday, 14th February 2020

From February 14th Derby Museums is inviting people to explore the making process and artistic progression of both modernist sculptor Ronald Pope and seven artists who have all won the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award and worked in Derbyshire to create work inspired by its landscape and people through two new linked exhibitions – Process and Progress.

The first exhibition shows work from artists that have previously won the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award from their residency in Derbyshire alongside some of their work today and explores their different creative journeys since then.

This biennial Award was established by Foundation Derbyshire in 1998 with the help of a legacy from the estate of the late Jonathan Vickers, a lifelong lover of fine arts. It is one of the most prestigious art competitions in the country and receives international recognition.

The successful artist receives a bursary to base themselves in Derbyshire for a year, at a studio in Banks Mill to produce art work based on the theme ‘A Sense of Place’. Support and mentoring for the artist is provided by the University of Derby’s College of Arts and their year culminates in a final exhibition at Derby Museums and Mall Galleries in London. The residency also involves local people through education and community outreach as a key component and this is supported by funding from Rolls-Royce.

The second exhibition focuses on the Derbyshire sculptor, Ronald Pope (1920-1997) who created works in stone, metal and wood that can be found in dozens of locations across the Midlands including schools, churches, public and private buildings.

Pope, although influenced by the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, developed highly individual sculpture over four decades, drawing inspiration for much of his work from landscape from the Derbyshire Peak District.

Tony Butler, Executive Director, Derby Museums says:

“Both Ronald Pope and the winners of the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award take their inspiration the natural and industrial landscapes of Derbyshire. Pope’s practice was shaped by his job at Rolls-Royce; he uses welding and bracing in many of his sculptures. Pope deserves far greater recognition as a leading British sculptor. 

The artists represented in the Vickers’ retrospective show a variety of landscapes, details of industrial buildings and interpretations of the heritage of Derbyshire. Over the past 20 years the work produced by these artists has shown consistent depth and inventiveness. 

The exhibition will be one of the most varied and fascinating held at the museum for many years.”

Process and Progress opens on Friday 14th February and runs until Sunday 10th May at Derby Museum and Art Gallery on The Strand. Admission is free and we invite people to ‘give what they think’ as a donation to enable Derby Museums to continue to bring fantastic exhibitions to the city and to keep our museums free for everyone.


For more information, please contact Vicky Washington, Marketing & Communication Co-ordinator: / 01332 643302.

Derby Museums
Founded in 2012, Derby Museums Trust is an independent charitable trust which is responsible for the rich cultural and creative history of Derby. It manages three sites across the city, the Museum and Art Gallery, Pickford’s House and The Silk Mill, and holds and curates all the art and collections within them, including the world’s largest collection of paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby.

The Trust’s aim is to bring as many of the objects and treasures in the collections into the public domain as is practically possible and present them in ways that delight and inspire, via education and learning programmes, events and exhibitions, in order to share knowledge and inspire creativity and making amongst the people of Derby.

As a charitable trust, Derby Museums relies on funding and grants from organisations and donations from businesses and the general public, all of which is gratefully received in order to ensure that admission to the museums remains free for all.

Derby Silk Mill – Museum of Making
Derby Museums has secured major grant funding of £9.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £2.5m from Arts Council England, £3.7million from the Government-awarded Local Growth Fund allocation of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (the private sector-led partnership promoting economic growth across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire) and support from a range of charitable trusts and foundations for the £16.4m development to create Derby Silk Mill – Museum of Making. The project will open up the whole of the Silk Mill, creating beautiful spaces to inspire our visitors and will provide access to 100% of Derby Museums’ collections of Making and Social History.  The new museum will have our communities at its heart and be uniquely co-produced with the people of Derby over the next few years and is due to open in 2020.

Derby Museums’ Endowment Campaign

Derby Museums has been awarded a Heritage Endowment Grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Over the next four years Derby Museums aims to raise £1 million that will be matched pound for pound by the HLF. This will create a £2 million Endowment Fund that will be permanently invested to provide an income to help to support Derby Museums’ long term future. 

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. Derby Museums has been funded by Arts Council England since 2012 to deliver improved museum facilities and services in Derby and from April 2018 is a National Portfolio Organisation.




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