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Treasures, textures, themes—creative highlights from the York Art Gallery

Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 650 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

In this photo essay from the UK, we showcase artworks from the York Art Gallery. This beautiful and historic city is also a major teaching and research centre.

The current exhibition, titled Treasures from the Stores, draws on the gallery’s vast resources. The collection of paintings spans more than 600 years, and includes works from overseas by Italian, Dutch and US artists as well.

The York Art Gallery’s collection was established in 1882, and now spans 1,000 paintings, 100 sculptures, 14,000 works on paper, and 6,000 ceramics.

The gallery building was opened to the public in 1879, and became the City Art Gallery in 1892. The square in front of the gallery features a statue of York artist William Etty and offers stunning views of the York Minster. Christmas lightings during the festive season are another delightful treat at this time.

A gallery redevelopment in 2015 lead to the creation of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA), and the building now offers a range of exhibition spaces on two floors. Other spaces include the gift shops and a studio for learning.

“It’s been amazing to delve into the gallery’s stores to select works for this new display, although the works we’ve selected here are just the tip of the iceberg,” explains Jenny Alexander, Associate Collections Curator at York Museums Trust.

The ceramics pieces, displayed in two gallery spaces, reflect the unique passions and personalities of their creators. They constitute a part of the 20th-century British studio ceramics movement.

Ceramic art spans functional objects as well as abstract forms. The collection of British Studio Ceramics draws from the acquisition of other collections from Dean Milner–White, WA Ismay and Henry Rothschild.

“Pottery is at once the simplest and the most difficult of all arts,” as aptly described by English art historian, poet and literary critic Herbert Read.

They also feature Burton Gallery’s artworks, showcasing artists such as Laura Knight, Amy Beatrice Atkinson, Joshua Reynolds, William Etty, Parmigianino, Thomas Barker, and Sahara Longe.

The gallery’s projects have been funded by the City of York Council, Anthony Shaw Trust, Shepherd Group, National Lottery through Arts Council England, and other foundations.

“We hope visitors will enjoy learning about and be inspired by the treasures from our incredible collection,” Jenny Alexander signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues to apply your creativity?

(All exhibition photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the gallery.)

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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