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Exhibitions

Art & Life: The Paintings of Beryl Bainbridge

Thursday 22 May – Sunday 19 October 2014
Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing, Strand Campus
Open Wed – Sun, 12.00 – 18.00 (until 20.00 on Thursdays)
Free Admission

Events programme

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All too often artists with talent in several fields become recognized for just one. This is the starting point for a journey through the creative life and oeuvre of Beryl Bainbridge, who was best known as a writer, but was also a highly accomplished visual artist. This exhibition shows a selection of Bainbridge's paintings, etchings and drawings, contextualised by material from her novels, and offers the rare opportunity to see a range of her first editions and archival material from the British Library. Screenings of documentary ‘Beryl's Last Year’ and an extract from the BBC's ‘According to Beryl’, as well as objects from her legendary and eccentric home provide an insight into the life of this fascinating creative figure.

Bainbridge often depicted on canvas those who featured in her novels. She focused in particular on figures from ‘real life’: her children, herself, objects from her home, historical figures, her lovers and historical events. As a result, Bainbridge's work often blurs the boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction. Events from her own life are reimagined and fictionalised; historical figures such as Samuel Johnson and Napoleon are depicted with Beryl in her own home.

As a multi-faceted artist, Bainbridge worked across art forms, merging personal events, history and the resonance of mythical figures as her raw material to produce both extraordinary fiction and powerful paintings.

An exhibition by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, curated by Susie Christensen. With thanks to Psiche Hughes, the family and estate of Beryl Bainbridge and the King’s Department of English. Featuring loans in partnership with the British Library.

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