Invited by the University of Birmingham Conservatives, controversial backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visited campus on Friday 9th March, speaking about his views on free speech, housing, mental health, Russia and tuition fees to a packed lecture theatre of around 300 students.Written by Erin Santillo & John Wimperis on 16th March 2018
Barber Displays Ophelia Painting for First Time in 144 Years
For the first time in 144 years, the painting of Shakespeare’s Ophelia by William Quiller Orchardson is on display to the public
The painting currently hangs in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts on the University of Birmingham campus.
Starting on 16 February, visitors to the Barber can find Ophelia next to Orchardson’s painting of his wife, a permanent fixture in the gallery.
“The painting of Ophelia was commissioned for a private collection and has not been hung since 1874
The painting of Ophelia was commissioned for a private collection and has not been hung since 1874. It is currently owned by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation which ‘promotes Scottish art nationally and internationally’, the Barber revealed to Redbrick in a press release. The collection features over 750 pieces by Scotland’s greatest artists and takes these oils and watercolours to the public throughout the year through loans and touring exhibitions.
In the picture, Orchardson has captured Ophelia in the iconic scene from Act IV, scene vii of Hamlet, as she sits on the edge of the stream. Other notable characteristics include the flowers and the trees that surround her in the picture.
The foundation's director, James Knox, said that bringing Ophelia to the Barber helps to fulfill the organization’s initiative: to bring the best Scottish artwork to premier UK galleries. Nicola Kalinsky, the director of the Barber, is similarly optimistic about the display, stating that she anticipates it will be very popular.
Orchardson was one of the most acclaimed artists in the High Victorian era. According to Art UK, he was known to use 'large empty spaces to create feelings of psychological tension or despair’ and was known for his historical costuming and depictions of upper-class married life.
“The exhibition will run until 13 May 2018 and can be found to the immediate left as you enter the Barber off of the stairs
Ophelia has been a popular figure of art since her emergence in 1609. She was an especially popular subject in Victorian art. Now, this picture is being reintroduced to Ophelia’s canon, alongside other famous works such as John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse and Arthur Hughes.
The arrival of Orchardson’s Ophelia at the Barber coincides with its new exhibition called The Rhythm of Light: Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection. This exhibit replaces the winter exhibition, Pride and Persecution: Jan Steen’s Old Testament Scenes.
Alongside Ophelia, The Rhythm of Light features many other works on loan from the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation and provides an opportunity to see the works of the Scottish Colourists — SJ Peploe, JD Fergusson, FCB Cadell and Leslie Hunter — together in the West Midlands for the first time.
The exhibition will run until 13 May 2018 and can be found to the immediate left as you enter the Barber off of the stairs. The Barber is free to enter and is open daily from 10:00-5:00 on weekdays and 11:00-5:00 on weekends.