ENDED: The Great Outdoors

  • Landscape painting of Leo Tolstoy sitting on a garden bench. He is dressed in a long white peasant blouse and has a white beard. On the left hand side are two silver birches.

About This Project

   ‘A poor life this if, full of care,

   We have no time to stand and stare.’

– W H Davies, Leisure (1911)

The experience of having to stay indoors has been an unfamiliar experience for most of us in 2020 and 2021.

The opportunity to get outside has become very important and has boosted appreciation of parks, countryside, and beaches. It has also fed into the British obsession with weather, in all its variety.

The development of British watercolour painting was partly led by art suppliers selling watercolour paints in an easily transported form. The arrival of ready-made tube oil paints in the mid-1800s made it easier for other artists to work outside of the studio. En plein air (open air) painting became more common, especially with artists who trained in France, many of whom moved to Cornwall for the seductive light and relative isolation. The Great Outdoors shows works from the Williamson collections which have been made in this tradition.

Whether it is sport, agricultural toil or simply the opportunity to sit, alone or in company, fresh air and open space have taken on great significance in all our lives. Long may it continue.

Exhibitions at Williamson Art Gallery & Museum are always free to enter. Further visiting & accessibility information (including latest opening times) can be found here.

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Williamson Art Gallery & Museum