This month has been all about the genius of Ralph Steadman!
We were thrilled to open Ralph Steadman: Hidden Treasures two weeks ago, a special In Focus exhibition showing three never-before-seen artworks by one of the world’s most influential living illustrators,. Two of the works have been generously lent by the Steadman Art Collection, and the third was previously unknown – we are incredibly lucky to be able to display these artworks. Alongside the Ralph’s usual brand splashy madness, the artworks feature 3D items such as a feather and old pen nibs. This meant they required special framing, and we were lucky to receive funding by the Tru Vue® Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme, in association with the Institute for Conservation, to do this work. Our Curator, Emma, put together a fantastic bid and plan to frame the three Steadman works, and as a result they look wonderful. Before opening at the museum, one of the artworks had been rolled up in the attic of the son of Ralph’s friend Philip Poole for several years, and the only eyes over the other two artworks have been people privileged enough to use Ralph’s bathroom at his home! I am sure that new and old Steadman fans will love seeing them up close in a small, intimate space. Congratulations to our exhibition team for giving these artworks the spotlight that they deserve.
As the summer draws to close it is a great time to round up some of the fantastic work that our Learning team have been doing in the local borough. The museum has taken part in several community festivals in Westminster, including Church Street, Queens Park, and Westbourne. Our last community festival of the summer is fast approaching, with a cartoon activity stall at Ramillies Street, near the Photographer’s Gallery – we hope to see you there! We loved seeing queues of children lining up to get a caricature of themselves and get involved in our cartoon drawing activities. Steve, our Learning Officer, has also been working with Westminster and Newham councils as part of the Holidays and Food (HAF) programme, delivering cartoon workshops in libraries across both boroughs. The HAF programme is so important in ensuring that children who receive free school meals don’t miss a meal during the summer holidays and have cultural activities to get involved in during the school break. It is a pleasure to support the initiative and we look forward to continuing our work with local councils to get young Londoners drawing.
In other news, we were very excited to receive a Judges Commendation back in July at the 2021 Museums & Heritage Awards in the Fundraiser of the Year category. The Awards had more entries this year than ever before, and it is great to have recognition of the team’s hard work and of the amazing support we have received after an incredibly difficult 18 months. As of now, our public donation page sits at just under £130,000, which is frankly incredible. Recognition by the Awards wouldn’t have happened without so much support and goodwill at every level, so a huge thank you from me to everyone who supported us in any way.