Renowned collector brings exhibition to Peterborough

Graham Cooley exhibition
Graham Cooley exhibition

Graham Cooley will open his ‘Glass, Light, Paint and Clay’ exhibition at the City Gallery in Priestgate on Saturday.

The exhibition will display work from four notable British artists, bringing together the studio glass of Sam Herman, the lighting designs of Bernard Rooke, the nature paintings of Duncan Clarke and the ceramics of John Maltby. The collection is unique in its eclectic nature. Though most collectors will amass a certain type of work, normally by a certain artist, Cooley’s unique selection of artworks reveal his broad taste across both visual and decorative arts.

Graham Cooley exhibition

Graham Cooley exhibition

Cooley collects a range of twentieth-century glass. However, speaking of his collection, he says: “I collect post-war British design. This includes ceramics by John Clappison, David Sharpe, Briglin, Glyn Colledge, Bernard Rooke and Tremaen. I also collect stainless steel mainly by Robert Welch, Gerald Benney, David Mellor and Stuart Devlin and Gordon Russell furniture.” Cooley’s Peterborough exhibition is a four-part exploration of different artistic mediums. One quarter of the exhibition will showcase the work of contemporary glass artist Sam Herman. One of Harvey Littleton’s first students, Herman is credited as one of the founders of the Studio Glass movement in Britain. He previously taught at the Royal College of Art, and his work has been exhibited worldwide.

The ‘Light’-focused part of the exhibition will focus on the work of Bernard Brooke, who merges ceramic sculpture with lighting to make and sell decorative lamps. In 1960 he set up his workshop in Forest Hill, London, with early pieces mainly fashioned by hand, using coils and blocks. His lamp bases are now design icons of the sixties and seventies.

The ‘Paint’ element will come from Duncan Clarke, whose nature and landscape paintings come with an environmental twist.

Clarke studies the impact of intensive farming and industrialisation on the environment around him in the Oxfordshire village of Coleshill. His work won several prizes in the early 1990s and has been fondly adopted by Graham Cooley for this project.

Finally, the ‘Clay’ quarter will exhibit John Maltby’s

Ancient Modernism in Clay.

As former apprentice to the famous Bernard Leach, Maltby’s work has been exhibited worldwide. His primitive-inspired figures are reminiscent of totem poles and early tribal art pieces.

The exhibition will run until Thursday, December 14, and will be open to the public from 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday.