British Folk Art

Bone Cockerel
Bone Cockerel

I finally got myself to Tate Britain this week to see the much-praised exhibition British Folk Art. And what a joy it is. Showcasing an eclectic selection of genres and media from the 17th to mid-20th century, it has been curated as a series of loosely connected encounters. This light-handed approach works well, leaving the viewer to look on at these – mostly anonymous – artefacts with wonder and delight.

My favourite piece was an exquisitely formed and uncannily realistic Bone Cockerel, made sometime around 1797 by a French Prisoner of War from bits of bone and improvised tools.  There is plenty to delight textile fans too, including George Smart’s paper and fabric Goosewoman, Mary Linwood’s extraordinary woven pictures in the style of the Old Masters and a quilt made by soldiers injured in the Crimean War.

Goosewoman by George Smart
Goosewoman by George Smart

The show runs at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 until 31st August. Open 10am – 6pm daily. Contact 020 7887 8888; http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art

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