This year The Royal Academy of Arts in London celebrates its 250th birthday with a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, talks and events highlighting the work of leading artists and architects (past and present) from around Britain. Over in Salford, Ordsall Hall and Salford Museum & Art Gallery are taking part; delving into their collections to present significant prints, drawings and sculptures by a range of highly-celebrated and lesser-well known Royal Academicians, including a number of pieces that have not been on public display for several years.
At Salford Museum & Art Gallery, visitors will find works by David Hockney (1937-), LS Lowry (1887-1976) and the leading British sculptor and printmaker Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) whose striking depictions of the human form and nature are charged with power, aggression and fragility. ‘The Royal Academy Highlight Trail’ will also pick out works by Royal Academicians already included in the gallery’s permeant displays, many of which live in the somewhat-splendid Victorian Gallery and feature in the Pilkington’s Lancastrian Pottery exhibition.
Close by, Ordsall Hall will shine a light on artists like the Scottish painter and engraver William Strang (1859-1921) whose work deftly shifts between the fantastic and the very real, touching on themes such as poverty and social injustice alongside bewildering allegory and narrative fiction. And the moody landscapes of Cumbrian-legend Sheila Fell (1931-1979) – a miner’s daughter who dedicated her life to depicting the rural setting of her birthplace and was close friends with LS Lowry (rumour has it that he once travelled all the way from Manchester by taxi – in his slippers – to visit her).