Barnham’s 50-year association with isles marked with special exhibition

In the 50 years that he has been painting watercolours and making linocuts of Shetland landscapes, Nicholas Barnham has become renowned for his unique style and amassed quite a following.

Now, to mark that lengthy association with the isles, Da Gadderie at the Museum and Archives is to host a special exhibition of his work, which will also include some of his drawings.

Nicholas Barnham's watercolour <i>Vaila from Walls</i>. Click on image to enlarge.
Nicholas Barnham's watercolour Vaila from Walls. Click on image to enlarge.

Barnham, who has exhibited throughout the UK, is well known in the isles. He first came to Shetland to teach art and design. Living in Yell, he also ran night classes and summer schools to make print making more accessible.

Although he now divides his time between Norfolk and Shetland, he still draws inspiration from the isles he fell in love with all those years ago.

He said: “To me Shetland was love at first sight; I was drawn to the dramatic, uncompromising, landscape – very much like Donegal where my grandmother originated.

“In 1966 I was the first artist to have a solo show in the old museum and it seems fitting that I celebrate my 50-year love affair with the Isles in a solo show at the new museum and archives.”

Barnham is inspired by similarities in the Shetland and Norfolk landscapes, including the North Sea, sky and fishing boats. The Shetland inspired pieces, which take centre stage in this exhibition, span decades of work.

<i>Hay's Dock, Lerwick</i>. Click on image to enlarge.
Hay's Dock, Lerwick. Click on image to enlarge.

The printed linocuts, many of which have been produced with the aid of his two magnificent Victorian Albion presses, provide an archive of a lifetime involvement with this media, while all the watercolours in the exhibition have been produced within the last few years. In addition there are examples of work and ideas in progress.

Museum and archives exhibitions officer John Hunter said: “Nicholas has a popular local following who will be keen to see this comprehensive display of his skills and imagery. His shows have always been a success both in terms of sales and appreciation. With this latest exhibition he’s sure to gain new admirers and collectors.”

Barnham said he would like to thank all his friends, particularly those in Shetland, for the tremendous support over the years. The exhibition runs from 8th August to 6th September.

For full story, see Friday’s Shetland Times.


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