New Exhibition: The Story So Far

New Exhibition: The Story So Far

A new exhibition looks at the collections of two North West galleries, The Atkinson in Southport and the Harris Art Gallery in Preston. Titled The Story So Far, the exhibition opens on Saturday 27 May and explores the captivating art of storytelling through a variety of narrative paintings that the two galleries hold.

Storytelling was a major part of British art throughout the nineteenth century. Well known stories from history, classic literature, myth and legend were commonplace in paintings and sculpture. Rural subjects with a simple narrative were also popular, often with a moralising or instructive overtone.

In the twentieth century the subject became less important and the instructive and descriptive functions of art faded away as more abstract and conceptual forms of art became mainstream. However, many artists have continued to hint at a narrative and to reference topical issues and concerns in their work.

Both galleries are actively acquiring contemporary art that references the original themes and underlying ideas of their early collections, creating an ongoing dialogue between the past and the present.

Featured artists include George Clausen, John Collier, Dame Laura Knight, L.S. Lowry, Shanti Panchal, Charles de Sousy Ricketts and Walter Sickert.

Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for Arts and Culture at Preston City Council said: “We are delighted to participate in this exhibition offering visitors the opportunity to explore the art of storytelling. Through a diverse range of works from both organisations, visitors can see how artists have used narratives to express their views on social and political issues, depict everyday life, and entertain us with their imaginative stories. We hope that visitors will leave with a renewed appreciation for the power of storytelling in art and how it can enrich our understanding of the world around us.”

Stephen Whittle, The Atkinson, Principal Manager: Museum, Gallery & Operations said: This is a great opportunity to see some of the great narrative paintings of the Victorian period and beyond. The Harris Art Gallery and the Atkinson have outstanding collections of nineteenth century art that tell us so much about the manners, morals and attitudes of the age. Its fascinating to compare and contrast the two collections and to see how they have developed such distinct identities in the following years, and how they continue to build important art collections for the future.

Exhibition Partners
This exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. The Atkinson would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.


The Story So Far

27 May 2023 – 2 March 2024
Mon-Sat. 10am-4pm. Free entry. (Closed Sundays & Bank Holidays)

Summer Exhibition Launch

Saturday 17 June 2023. 10am-4pm. Free.
Join us as we launch our new season of exhibitions with gallery tours, artist talks and a variety of craft workshops suitable for all the family. More information here:

Posted on 25 May 2023 under Exhibition, General news

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