Beryl Bainbridge, one of the finest novelists of our time was also a highly accomplished visual artist. The Cultural Institute at Kings
presents Art & Life: The Paintings of Beryl Bainbridge an exhibition of Bainbridge's paintings, etchings and drawings on show in London.
Despite no formal training, painting and drawing were Bainbridges lifelong passions, which she found relaxing and less pressurized than writing. They were also a source of income for her before her writing career took off. In Art & Life: The Paintings of Beryl Bainbridge this work is contextualised by material from her novels, and offers the rare opportunity to see a range of her first editions and archival material from the British Library.
Bainbridge often depicted on canvas those who featured in her novels. She focused in particular on figures from real life: her children, herself, objects from her home, historical figures, her lovers and historical events. As a result, Bainbridge's work often blurs the boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction. Events from her own life are re-imagined and fictionalised; historical figures such as Samuel Johnson and Napoleon are depicted with Beryl in her own home.
As a multi-faceted artist, Bainbridge worked across art forms, merging personal events, history and the resonance of mythical figures as her raw material to produce both extraordinary fiction and powerful paintings.
Screenings of documentary Beryl's Last Year and an extract from the BBC's According to Beryl, as well as objects from her legendary and eccentric Camden home provide an insight into the life of this fascinating creative figure.
An exhibition by the Cultural Institute at Kings College London, curated by Susie Christensen. With thanks to Psiche Hughes, the family and estate of Beryl Bainbridge and the Kings Department of English. Featuring loans in partnership with the British Library.