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The Ashmolean Museum Acquires an Extensive Collection of Drawings by Tom Phillips RA
A comprehensive group of over 200 drawings and sketch books, assembled by the artist Tom Phillips, has been acquired by the Ashmolean.
OXFORD.- A comprehensive group of over 200 drawings and sketch books, assembled by the artist Tom Phillips, has been acquired by the Ashmolean with a major grant from independent charity The Art Fund, and additional funding from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and the Christopher Vaughan Bequest Fund. The collection spans the chronological range and genres of his work, from a drawing of his mother made before he went to university, to a set design for The Magic Flute at Opera Holland Park in 2008.

A comprehensive group of over 200 drawings and sketch books, assembled by the artist Tom Phillips, has been acquired by the Ashmolean with a major grant from independent charity The Art Fund, and additional funding from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and the Christopher Vaughan Bequest Fund. The collection spans the chronological range and genres of his work, from a drawing of his mother made before he went to university, to a set design for The Magic Flute at Opera Holland Park in 2008.

Its centrepiece is the entire series of 107 drawings published in the book Merry Meetings, sketched at board meetings at the British Museum, Royal Academy, and elsewhere (2005). It also includes studies for portraits; sketch books; life studies; collages; designs for panels in All Souls’ Chapel, Westminster Cathedral; for tapestries in St Catherine’s College, Oxford; for street furniture, for book covers, and for the Royal Mint.

Born in 1937, Tom Phillips is one of Britain’s most eminent artists. His intellectual range and artistic versatility comprises portrait painter, book designer, translator, musician, graphic artist, printmaker, sculptor and designer. With solo exhibitions at the ICA (1973), the Basel Kunsthalle (1975), the National Portrait Gallery (1989), and the Royal Academy (1993), he was elected RA in 1989 and appointed CBE in 2002. As the Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford in 2006, he arranged a micro-retrospective of his work in the Ashmolean, which formed an integral part of his lecture series Making Art Work, acclaimed as one of the most imaginative and innovative in living memory.

In 2007, the Bodleian Library acquired an important archive of material relating to Phillips’s Dante’s Inferno. The Ashmolean’s new acquisition constitutes an unprecedented example of a developing collaboration between the University of Oxford’s Museum of Art and Archaeology and its principal library to create mutually complementary collections, fully representing one of the outstanding artistic talents of the last half century in Britain.

Establishing the Tom Phillips archive at the Ashmolean provides the Museum’s Print Room with a major contribution to its collection of 21st century works on paper. Housing one of Britain’s finest collections of European prints and drawings from the fifteenth century to the present day, the Print Room features the largest collection of Raphael’s drawings in the world, along with notable groups of drawings by Turner, Samuel Palmer, John Ruskin and Camille and Lucien Pissarro, amongst many others.

Art Fund | Ashmolean | Tom Phillips | Christopher Vaughan Bequest Fund | Basel Kunsthalle | Royal Academy |




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