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Refracted: Collection Highlights

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To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England, we are launching the exhibition, Refracted: Collection Highlights, which has been co-curated with members of the local LGBT+ community. The project, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, seeks to mark this significant change in social and cultural attitudes and to celebrate and work with an important section of Bournemouth’s community.

Taking inspiration from the Rainbow Flag, which has been used since the 1970s to symbolise the LGBT+ community, the volunteer curators at the Russell-Cotes have selected paintings and objects from the collection to reflect the colours of the rainbow flag and their associated themes: sexuality, (pink), life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), magic and art, (turquoise), harmony (blue) and spirit (purple/violet).  Through these themes, they have refracted the Russell-Cotes Museum’s extraordinary and diverse collection and have created a stunning exhibition which will appeal to all.

Some of the works reflect human LGBT+ experiences over the decades before decriminalisation and highlights include The Annunciation, 1877 by Simeon Solomon (1840 – 1905), a Pre-Raphaelite follower who was arrested and imprisoned for sodomy, destroying his promising career. Artist, John Minton (1917 – 1957) was so conflicted by his homosexuality that he committed suicide and his stunning life-size portrait, Painter and Model, will take center stage. Other works of art and objects have been chosen for their kitsch and exuberance, for their relevance to the rainbow themes, or merely because of their personal appeal to the individual curators.


Open Call for Commission: Proposed photography exhibition in our Café Gallery, to be displayed from 8 August – 17 September 2017.
Provisionally titled ‘Bournemouth LGBT+ in 2017’.

The Russell-Cotes is inviting photographers to apply for a commission to produce a series of photographs which represent LGBT+ Bournemouth in 2017.

A series of 10-15 images will be displayed in the Café Gallery, forming part of the Russell-Cotes’ public programme of events and activities surrounding our main exhibition, Refracted: Collection Highlights.

For more details of how to apply, please click on the following link:
Photographer commission call.

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  • john minton ratio
  • Alethe Attendant of the Sacred Ibis by Edwin Longsdon Long hi res
  • Alethe Attendant of the Sacred Ibis by Edwin Longsdon Long hi res
  • The Annunciation 1877 by Simeon Solomon

13th May 17 - 08th September 17