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New exhibition Ernest Gimson: Observation, Imagination and Making at The Wilson showcases the ongoing popularity of the Arts and Crafts movement

Opens Saturday 23 November at The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum

Click here for the full press release.

Architect and designer Ernest Gimson is regarded as one of the most influential makers of the English Arts and Crafts movement. From architecture and metalwork to plaster and textiles, he left his mark on the creative world.

That legacy of the art of making can be seen in an exciting limited edition collection created by leading print designer Katy Welsh for The Wilson. The collection of colourful prints, notepads, tea towels, tote pads and greetings cards is an ideal opportunity to buy bespoke contemporary gifts for family and friends this Christmas, and is now available in the gallery shop.

Katy will be at The Wilson on Thursday 5 December when the art gallery and museum hosts a special late night Christmas shopping evening and its popular #FirstThursday creative car boot and live music. Buy a full priced £5 ticket to the Gimson exhibition at the event and enjoy a free glass of mulled wine.

Gimson is also inspiring young makers and The Wilson has worked with community engagement students from Gloucestershire College who visited Sapperton, where he lived, and are creating plasterwork based on his work . Young people from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Our Bright Future group are creating a bench. Award winning filmmaker Joe Magee is recording the students’ projects.

The exhibition is being complemented with artist residencies at The Wilson by seven members of Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen throughout the exhibition. The artists taking part are Liz Lippiatt (textiles), Liz Valenti (paper), Bella Peralta (handwoven textiles), Sue Bradley (knitted textiles), Andy Moore (calligraphy), Jan Knibbs (textiles) and Kristian Pettifor (furniture).

The exhibition, which runs until 25 February 2020, explores Gimson’s creative process focusing on his architecture, textiles, metalwork and plaster. It features items from The Wilson’s nationally important Designated Arts and Crafts movement collection. Visitors will also be able to view rarely seen private loans of furniture, metalwork and embroidery, many of which have been loaned by the Gimson family.

The Wilson holds Gimson’s extensive archive of sketchbooks, designs and photographs which were saved by then curator Daniel Herdman from a bonfire in 1941. Since then The Wilson has continued to collect work by Gimson.

A £100,000 funding package from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Wolfson Fund is supporting the exhibition and the creation of a new Maker Space in The Wilson. This area will showcase the work of contemporary makers alongside the work of Gimson and designers of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

The Wilson has also been able to digitise a significant number of Gimson’s designs and sketchbooks as part of the grant, and these will go onto a new digital resource also launching in 2020.

Gimson trained as an architect and met William Morris in 1884. In London he became part of the Arts and Crafts scene before travelling in Britain, France and Italy studying buildings to further his training. He moved to Sapperton, opened a furniture making workshop and started a smithy. He continued designing buildings such as the hall and library at Bedales School, and provided wood and metalwork for buildings and churches including Westminster Cathedral. He lived his life in Sapperton and died in 1919, aged 54.

Tickets for the exhibition are £5, £3 for concessions and are available online at or by telephone 01242 387488.

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