Museum hosts Adnams exhibition

The first major retrospective of Derby surrealist artist Marion Adnams is to be staged at the city’s Museum and Art Gallery.

Marion Adnams: A Singular Woman, is the first exhibition devoted to Adnams in almost 50 years.

Adnams was born in Otter Street, Derby, in 1898 where she lived, for the most part, until her death in 1995.

During the course of her long life, she forged a reputation as an artist of deeply distinctive and dream-like visions. Some of these paintings resemble the works of surrealists, including Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Paul Nash, but Adnams’ paintings also reflect an individualism which stemmed, in part, from her own unique perspective and interest in the natural world.

Derby provided a rich source of material for the artist, while the Derbyshire landscape, particularly the White Peak, was also an important influence on her early work.

Significantly, Adnams never provided explanations for her work, believing that it should be interpreted as people wished.

She worked in Derby for much of her life as an art teacher, painting at the weekend and exhibiting her work with the Midland Group of artists at Nottingham, and further afield.

When she retired in 1961, Adnams worked full-time as a professional artist, dividing her time between Derby and southern France where she had a second home.

Sadly, within just eight years, failing eyesight forced her to stop painting altogether.

This exhibition brings together work by Adnams from the Derby Museums collection, as well as paintings, drawings, prints, and personal objects on loan from both private and civic collections.

The exhibition will be on display at Derby Museum and Art Gallery from December 2 until March 4.

Lucy Bamford, Senior Curator of Fine Art at Derby Museums said: “Marion Adnams has become something of a forgotten artist.”

The exhibition has been curated in partnership with independent researcher Val Wood, and Teresa Forde, senior lecturer in film and media, at the University of Derby.