November 26, 2013, by David Greenaway

Pop Art to Britart

Pop Art to Britart installationThe extension of the Djanogly Art Gallery at Lakeside in 2011 allowed us to raise our level of ambition in terms of the scale of exhibitions we count attract.

The opening exhibition for the new Gallery was LOWRY; the largest retrospective on LS Lowry since the late 1970s (and notwithstanding the recent exhibition at the Tate in London, probably still the largest). It was actually made possible by Sir Harry Djanogly, a longstanding friend and benefactor of our University, who made available a very large number of exhibits from his own private collection. That provided the anchor to draw in others.

Patrick Caulfield Café Interior

Patrick Caulfield Café Interior. © The Estate of Patrick Caulfield. All rights reserved, DACS 2013.

LOWRY was by some way the most successful exhibition ever at Lakeside, attracting almost 48,000 visitors; prior to that, the top draw had been 10,000 visitors. So, it was not only an outstanding success in its own right, but in introducing new audiences who have boosted attendances at every Lakeside exhibition since.

When I told David Ross about LOWRY and Sir Harry’s key role, he immediately offered access to his own private collection. The result is Pop Art to Britart: Modern Masters from the David Ross Collection, which opened last week and will run until February 9th 2014. Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate, opened the exhibition and said: “The collection of David Ross, on view at the Djanogly Gallery, is one of the most important collections of modern British Art in the UK. Chosen with real discrimination, each of the works is a fine example and several of the artists are represented by outstanding paintings. The exhibition fills the galleries with vibrant colour and presents a compelling account of British art over a fifty year period”.

It is an extraordinary collection of work by British artists covering the half century from 1960 to 2010. It includes work by David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Francis Bacon, Patrick Caulfield, Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley, Peter Blake and others; almost all of which have never been seen in public before. This is a real treat for the University community and Lakeside’s regular visitors. But such is the importance of the collection, it is certain to bring in many from outside the region.

David Ross 2005 by Jonathan Yeo

Portrait of David Ross. © Jonathan Yeo, 2005.

David Ross is a hugely successful Nottingham graduate, who has shared the fruits of his success in many ways: reducing educational disadvantage by investing in his network ofacademies; supporting access to University by funding our very own Nottingham Potential initiative; and through his extensive support for the visual and performing arts.

In Pop Art to Britart he has he has allowed his University to be the showcase for a unique collection, which as a recent Sotheby’s blog pointed out, could just as easily been shown in London. The collection has been superbly curated by Neil Walker, who has also produced a very fine catalogue.

It is wonderful to see art of this quality at Lakeside for our staff and students to enjoy, as well as the tens of thousands of visitors it will attract to Nottingham.

I am immensely grateful to David for his selflessness and generosity in making this possible.

Professor David Greenaway


In this video David tells us more about when he started collecting art, whilst curator Neil Walker discusses the works on display.

© The Estate of Patrick Caulfield. All rights reserved, DACS 2013.

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