Insight into lost rural life to go on show at MERL
Release Date 18 December 2006
The Museum of English Rural Life is holding an exhibition of rural watercolours which document south east Britain's changing countryside through the 1970s and 1980s. The Museum (MERL), which is owned and managed by the University of Reading will be displaying the work of artist Clifford Nickson, who concentrated on a farm buildings in the Surrey, Sussex and Kent, which at that time had fallen in to disuse and disrepair, and which have now either disappeared or been converted into homes and offices. Nickson's work is a fascinating record of the changing countryside in the south east at a time when development was high. Rural scenes which have been lost forever were captured by Nickson's paintbrush as he toured the area. The artist's sketchbooks will also be on display. MERL is the first museum to be asked to show the paintings, and is to play an important role in preparing the exhibition, which will go on tour after its first showing at MERL. Prior to the first time display of the thirty watercolours, MERL's in-house conservator, Fred van de Geer, is to carry out some necessary preventive treatment. He said, "Watercolours by their very nature are extremely susceptible to fading as a result of exposure to light and specifically UV-light. The paintings will be taken out of their frames and the glass will be replaced by an acrylic with an inbuilt UV-protection. Mounts and backing panels will be replaced with inert, conservation grade materials." Roy Brigden, Keeper of the Museum, said: "We are delighted to be the inaugural host for this exhibition. The pictures are the artist's tribute to his lost love for the countryside that inspired him." The exhibition will be on show from January 9th to March 18th at The Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, RG1 5EX. For more about the Museum information visit http://www.merl.org.uk Ends Note for media: Media are welcome to attend. If you wish to come along or to be shown round the exhibition by the Curator, please contact Alison Hilton, marketing officer, on 0118 378 8660. Notes for editors: 1. More information about the Museum of English Rural Life The Museum of English Rural Life, in London Road, Reading, was founded by the University of Reading in 1951 to reflect and record the changing face of farming and the countryside. It houses designated collections of national importance that span the full range of objects, archives, photographs, film and books. Today, it forms part of the University's Museums and Collections Service. The Museum operates as a major resource and research centre for the history of food, farming and the countryside with links into the School of History and other academic departments at the University. 2. More information About the University of Reading The University of Reading is one of the foremost research-led universities in the UK. Founded in the nineteenth century and gaining a Royal Charter in 1926, we offer a wide range of programmes from the pure and applied sciences to languages, social sciences and fine art. New research and the latest thinking continually feed into undergraduate teaching, with our academic staff working at the forefront of their fields of expertise.