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Lord Attenborough Gifts 'Red Owl' by Picasso to University of Leicester Arts Centre
Red Owl’ was inspired by Spanish traditions and their use of heraldic birds. Photo: Steve Garratt.
LEICESTER.- A ceramic by the celebrated artist Pablo Picasso has been given to Embrace Arts, the University of Leicester’s arts centre, by Lord and Lady Attenborough and is now on permanent display there.

Lord Attenborough was active in raising the funds to set up Embrace Arts, formerly known as the Richard Attenborough centre, and his continuing support has allowed the arts centre to develop and widen its programmes, while maintaining a focus on disability and inclusion.

Co-directors of Embrace Arts, Louisa Milburn and Michaela Butter, commented: “As our patron, Lord Attenborough has always been actively involved with our work and we are extremely grateful to him and his wife for their very kind gift.”

Lord and Lady Attenborough, who have given 140 Picasso ceramics to the city of Leicester to be displayed at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, donated ‘Red Owl’ to Embrace Arts because its colour and contrast give most access to partially-sighted visitors to the centre.

‘Red Owl’ was inspired by Spanish traditions and their use of heraldic birds. Applying the technique of sgraffitto (incising), Picasso drew a stylised depiction of an owl on the front of the dish and decorated the back with patterns often seen in medieval Spanish ceramics.

The Attenboroughs began their collection of Picasso ceramics in 1954 when they first visited the Madoura pottery in Vallauris in southern France, where Picasso had been working for several years with Georges and Suzanne Ramié.

The great majority of the collection consists of Picasso editions and original impressions. Picasso insisted the pottery should produce and sell inexpensively, so that ordinary people could own a ‘Picasso’.

Working from an original pattern to produce many repetitions, the decorators at Madoura worked with a freedom that aimed to match that of their original creator. The ‘Red Owl’ donated to Embrace Arts is 77 from an edition of 120.

‘Red Owl can be seen at Embrace Arts at the Richard Attenborough centre, Lancaster Road, Leicester. Admission is free and the Embrace Arts gallery is open between 10.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday. For weekend opening please contact Embrace Arts box office: 0116 252 2455.

‘Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection’ is on view at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery.



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