I have been fortunate to have been able to make the collection in a relatively short period of time. It has been made to underline the strength of Jerwood in supporting the visual arts and enriching a cultural heritage.
Alan Grieve CBE, Chairman Emeritus, Jerwood Foundation
The history of the Jerwood Collection reflects, in part, the wider story of Jerwood itself and, as with most private collections, many works have a personal significance. When a Georgian townhouse in London’s Fitzroy Square became the base for Jerwood’s offices, the empty walls of the four-storey house, adjacent to Duncan Grant’s studio, were an open invitation to form an art collection, with 20th century British art as the main thrust of what has now become the Jerwood Collection.
In the first years of collecting Alan Grieve was guided by the Jerwood Advisory Board and the late Sir Peter Wakefield (Director, National Art Collections Fund, now the Art Fund) who suggested some early key purchases including, Sir Frank Brangwyn’s From my Window at Ditchling. Bought in 1993, it is a quiet contemplative work, depicting the view from the artist’s Sussex home, ‘The Jointure’.
A year later, the Jerwood Painting Prize was launched to ‘foster the enjoyment and understanding of painting and to draw attention to the outstanding work being done by painters in Britain’. The major prize of £30,000 set the award as the most valuable British art prize at the time, and from 1994-2003 it was awarded annually in recognition of an artist’s recent body of work.
Photo: Sir Frank Brangwyn RA RWS (1867-1956), From my Window at Ditchling, circa 1925 © The Estate of Frank Brangwyn/Bridgeman Images
Craigie Aitchison RA (1926-2009) was awarded the first Jerwood Painting Prize in 1994. Presented that year as a purchase prize, Crucifixion was acquired for the Jerwood Collection. Thereafter, the collection developed a 21st century strand as the Foundation sought to collect works by artists who were winners or shortlisted for its Painting Prize. Many of today’s nationally and internationally recognised British artists were winners or shortlisted for the Prize.
The vision and purpose of the Jerwood Collection was restated in 2012 and although a private collection, it is now widely accessible to the public through an extensive loans and exhbitions programme. Through its promotion of a broader understanding, interpretation and enjoyment of modern and contemporary British art, an important part of Jerwood's philanthropic mission is delivered by the Jerwood Collection.
The collection holds a significant number of paintings, works on paper, sculpture and prints by British artists such as Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, Barbara Hepworth, John Piper, Stanley Spencer RA, Barbara Walker and Rose Wylie RA. It continues to grow with new acquisitions and donations under the direction of Lara Wardle, Executive Director.
Photo: The Art of Collecting /Mayfair Art Weekend, Mall Galleries, 2018; Craigie Aitchison RA, CBE (1926-2009), Crucifixion, 1994. Tim Hall Photography, image courtesy © the artist’s estate/Bridgeman Images. Welbeck, Harley Gallery, Kindred Spirits, November 2021 - February 2022, courtesy Harley Gallery; Katie Pratt (b. 1969), Delphinium, 2001 © Katie Pratt.
Jerwood Collection: 25 on display at Sotheby's, 8-12 June 2018, Photo: Pete Jones Photography