David Inshaw’s famous painting ‘The Badminton Game’ will go on show at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery from July until the end of 2013 as part of a free exhibition.
The Tate has agreed to lend the rarely seen iconic painting to the Victoria Art Gallery for six months so that people may view it in the west, without charge, from Saturday 6 July.
The painting shows two women playing a game of badminton amongst the topiary hedges of a garden in Devizes. It was painted 40 years ago and will be displayed initially in the small ground floor gallery, complementing an exhibition by the Bath Society of Artists, of which David Inshaw is the President.
The painting now known as ‘The Badminton Game’ was originally called ‘Remembering mine the loss is, not the blame’, a title taken from a poem by Thomas Hardy. The scene was influenced by the landscape of Wiltshire and in particular by houses and gardens in Devizes.
Writing about the painting, David Inshaw commented: “I think my main aim was to produce a picture that held a moment in time, but unlike a photograph, which only records an event. I thought a painting could give a more universal deeper meaning to that moment, by composing one instant from a lot of different unrelated moments.
“I had been living in Devizes for nine months when I began the picture, and had got to know and understand the place a little. I was excited by the warm red brick of the Georgian houses in the town, against the early morning spring skies. I had to be up early to go and teach in Bristol, and usually left Devizes at 7.30am, and came back to late evening skies. This, with the trees and gardens I could see from the house, gave the colour scheme for the picture.
“I tried to paint them [the two girls] beautifully and in strong sunlight… as if they were being blessed by the sun in the clear, early morning air.”
‘The Badminton Game’ is one of several pictures painted soon after his move to Wiltshire which were inspired partly by his discovery of Thomas Hardy. The others include ‘She did not turn’ 1974 and ‘Presentiment’ 1973–8.
The rarely seen painting was the subject of the BBC Four documentary series “Hidden Paintings” in which Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen revealed how it once adorned the walls of 10 Downing Street during the 1990s, but the public have had little chance to see it for themselves.
Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud that the Victoria Art Gallery is able to display this beautiful painting in the west and offer everyone the opportunity to appreciate a variety of cultural pieces inspired by the surrounding region.”
The Victoria Art Gallery, near Pulteney Bridge in Bath, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 1.30pm to 5pm and closed on Mondays. For more details call 01225 477233 or visit the Gallery’s websitewww.victoriagal.org.uk.