In Her Own Voice: The Art of Lucy Kemp-Welch (1869-1958)
1 April – 1 October 2023, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
Lucy Kemp-Welch is one of Britain’s foremost equestrian painters in the tradition of British impressionism. She was an expert horsewoman with an innate understanding and love of her equine subjects, especially working horses. From the late 1890s to the mid-1920s she was one of the country’s best-known female artists. She is best known for her illustrations of Anna Sewell’s classic tale, ‘Black Beauty’ for the 1915 edition.
Here is the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum’s exhibition tour of esteemed British equestrian painter Lucy Kemp-Welch, the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in over twenty years. As an expert horsewoman Kemp-Welch held an innate understanding and love for equine subjects, with a special affection for working horses and other agricultural animals. Born in Bournemouth, Kemp-Welch was greatly inspired by the Dorset Coastline and the New Forest, in her painted landscapes and environments. This connection can be seen in significant paintings such as, Gypsy Horse Drovers, 1894 and Foam Horses, 1896. From the late 1890s to the mid-1920s she was one of the country’s best-known female artists, working in the tradition of British Impressionism.
In Her Own Voice, is an exhibition which gives power to the painted visual language and spirit of Lucy Kemp-Welch through a major retrospective of her works. The marks and gestures are not only a trace of touch, but a dance of conversation, an exchange of consciousness between the artist and her subjects. The paintings preserve the courage and inner strength she showed as a female painter pursuing an artistic career in male dominated field and highlight her outstanding talent and skill as an artist.
Curated by art historian and author, Dr David Boyd Haycock, In Her Own Voice is an exhibition which will focus on key works and moments in Kemp-Welch’s illustrious career, along with highlighting the influence of Hubert von Herkomer’s teachings on her techniques and artistic practise. The exhibition will coincide with the launch of Dr David Boyd Haycock’s biography of the artist, due to be published this year.
This exhibition features over sixty artworks from Kemp-Welch’s lifetime. It will feature works from national and regional museums, with significant loans from The Imperial War Museum, Bushey Museum and Art Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery to name a few. Artworks from private collections will also be on view, in some instances this will be the first time they have ever been on display to the public.
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum has partnered with the National Horse Racing Museum to organise a major exhibition of works by Kemp-Welch (1869-1958), which will be hosted at both venues. Curated by art historian and curator, David Boyd Haycock, the exhibition will focus on key works and moments in Kemp-Welch’s illustrious career, as well as the influence of Hubert von Herkomer’s teaching.
This exhibition is the first significant retrospective highlighting her work, in particular as a painter of horses, since her death. This exhibition was made possible with a grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, and will feature works from national and regional museums, including the Imperial War Museum, Bushey Museum and Southampton City Art Gallery.
This exhibition has been made possible as a result of the Government Indemnity Scheme. The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum would like to thank HM Government for providing Government Indemnity and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for arranging the indemnity.
Find out more about Lucy Kemp-Welch and her life from curator, Dr. David Boyd Haycock here