Oxmarket exhibition to bring art historian’s archive discovery to new audience

This story was first published in the Chichester Observer on October 25, 2018. The original story can be read here: chichester.co.uk/news/oxmarket-exhibition-to-bring-art-historian-s-archive-discovery-to-new-audience-1-8680597.]

 Jan Hodges holding a design for fabric from the Whaite archive. Photographs by me

Chichester’s The Oxmarket Gallery is set to host an exhibition showcasing the work of two artists and educationalists.

‘Father and Daughter’ is the first retrospective of the artwork of Clarence Whaite (1895-1978) and his daughter Gillian Whaite (1934-2012) for 39 years. The two artists, who studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, both lived in London before moving to Chichester, where they ended their days.

Five years ago, their work was rediscovered by Chichester resident Jan Hodges during a studio auction of their paintings. After discovering the archive, Jan then spent several months cataloguing the artwork.

She said: “From my first moments of engaging with them I was struck by the possibility that their history would just disappear unless someone recorded it. Both had previously exhibited nationally and in Gillian’s case, internationally, and with no heirs to the estate it looked very likely that their story would die with them.”

The exhibition, which will run from November 6 to 18, will exhibit work by both artists, and will also offer talks and an illustrated commemorative brochure to purchase. Jan, who staged the exhibition herself, said: “My aim for this exhibition is to be able to bring to Chichester two artists remembered by many in the City and also to introduce them to a new audience.”

Jan chose the title of the exhibition to emphasise what she calls ‘the creative familial network of their lives’. She said: “Gillian always emphasised that her work was very different from that of her father, and I’ve tried to demonstrate that with this exhibition, where there are examples of the wide range of medium both artists employed in their work”.Both Clarence and Gillian produced a wide variety of work, using different mediums to create a number of portraits and landscapes.

Jan with one of Gillian’s paintings, showing a domestic scene

Jan added: “The shared thread in their art is the variety of work across many disciplines. I admire the plein-air landscapes that Clarence executed in oil, normally with a painting knife but also Gillian’s large painstaking-canvases that record a London immensely changed since she started to execute them in the 1990s.”

The mayor of Chichester, Martyn Bell, who is also chairman of the Oxmarket Gallery, has worked with Jan to provide the opportunity to showcase the Whaites’ work.

Jan, who is researching the two artists for her PhD at the University of Chichester, said: “The exhibition is also funded by Gillian’s solicitors, the OwenKenny Partnership and the University of Chichester. With the closure of the Otter Gallery at the University I am exceedingly grateful to all the sponsors for making this exhibition possible. Of course I have had to be a one-woman band as there is no team to do the publicity, arrange transport from private collectors around the country and generally make it happen. While it has been an enormous amount of work on my part, it will go a long way towards achieving my aim to put the Whaites on the map.

“The exhibition will be opened by Jane Cox, the ceramicist and current Master of The Artworkers’ Guild, that was founded by William Morris. Both Gillian and her brother were ‘Brothers’ of the Guild. Jane’s father, Oliver Cox, an eminent architect and planner, was taught by Clarence whilst a pupil at Mill Hill School in London.”

To find out more, or to communicate information about the Whaites, follow @WhaiteArt on Twitter, or contact jhodges1@stu.chi.ac.uk.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s