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Exhibition dedicated to The Bloomsbury Group opens at Ulster Museum

Ulster Museum and The Courtauld in London have collaborated on a new exhibition showcasing pieces from the Bloomsbury Group.

Katherine Dunleavy (The Courtauld) and Anna Liesching (National Museums NI) pictured in The Bloomsbury: A Collective exhibition at Ulster Museum
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Ulster Museum and The Courtauld in London have collaborated on a new exhibition showcasing pieces from the Bloomsbury Group - a group of artistic and intellectual friends, who came of age just as the conservative Victorian era of the 19th century was ending. 

Bloomsbury: A Collective includes works from The Courtauld Collection and Ulster Museum in order to take an introductory look at the Bloomsbury Group, specifically three central artists within it - Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant.

Anna Liesching, Curator of Art at National Museums NI, who curated the exhibition said:

“As a loose and changing mix of people, the Bloomsbury Group were searching for new ways of thinking, living and loving. Pioneers of their time, I think many people today can relate to much of what they represented.”

The exhibition also shares work by the Omega Workshops: a group of designers who sought to translate the ethos of the Bloomsbury Group into beautiful, tangible objects. The works on display from The Courtauld were gifted from Roger Fry’s estate, who founded Omega Workshops, and is often considered the curator of the Bloomsbury Group.

Katherine Dunleavy, National Partnership Coordinator, at The Courtauld, said:

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Ulster Museum and to share some exceptional works from our collection with their visitors and local communities. The Bloomsbury Group included some of the most daring and influential artists of the 20th century and we hope these rarely displayed works, alongside key pieces from Ulster Museum’s collection, will provide audiences with a fascinating insight into their lives and work.”

Ulster Museum’s partnership with The Courtauld is part of the Courtauld National Partners Programme which aims to share their collection with audiences across the United Kingdom.

Earlier this year we ran a joint competition for students aged 14-18 to create a surface design inspired by the designs of the Omega Workshops and received over 40 entries from schools across Northern Ireland and England.

Four people pictured in Bloomsbury: A Collective exhibition at Ulster Museum
It was an all-Northern Ireland shortlist, with the winning entry by Lily Stuart from Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock. Runners-up were Molly O’Grady and Faye Gardiner from, Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock and Lurgan College, respectively. Lily’s design features on a tote bag, while Molly’s and Faye’s designs feature on note pads – all of which are currently on sale at the Ulster Museum and The Courtauld gift shops.

Commenting on the schools' competition and the partnership as a whole, Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive at National Museums NI said:

“I want to congratulate Lily, Molly, Faye and all the young people who entered this competition. The vast range of entries demonstrates the incredible talent and artistic flair of our young people, and I hope exhibitions such as Bloomsbury: A Collective, and museums in general, continue to inspire them and like-minded people in sparking their creativity.

“I am delighted that we are able to continue this valued partnership with The Courtauld by delivering projects that allow our audiences to engage with us in diverse and immersive ways.”