‘English Cathedrals: Drawings by Dennis Creffield,’ a South Bank Centre touring exhibition, opens at The Winchester Gallery on 9th March. From Winchester it will travel throughout England, taking in many of the great cathedral cities during a two-year tour.
In 1987 the South Bank Board commissioned the painter Dennis Creffield to draw all 26 medieval cathedrals of England. From February until November 1987 Creffield travelled more than 10,000 miles in a motor caravan, drawing in all weathers, and rising early to avoid the tourists.
The commission fulfilled a 40 year ambition. At the outset of his journey Creffield wrote, ‘No artist has ever before drawn all the English medieval cathedrals-not even Turner. I’ve dreamed of doing so since I was 17 when as a student of David Bomberg I drew and painted in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.’
In the exhibition catalogue the painter R B Kitaj hails these large and vigorous charcoal drawings as ‘the best things of their kind since Mondrian’s church façades.’ He writes, ‘Creffield is one of England’s closely guarded secrets and it’s about time someone blew his cover. This exhibition, this commission was a brilliant idea. The drawings are wonderful and Creffield’s great gift can’t be hidden away any more.’
The project has benefited from sponsorship from The Goldmark gallery, Uppingham, Rutland.
Winchester, The Winchester Gallery 9 March-6 April 1988
Wrexham, Library Arts Centre 16 April-22 May
Norwich, Scholl of Art Gallery 1 June-29 June
Peterborough, Museum and Art Gallery 9 July-13 August
Durham, DLI Museum and Arts Centre 1 October-6 November
Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery 2 November-18 December
Manchester, Castlefield Gallery 5 January-12 February 1989
Brighton, Gardener Centre, University of Sussex 18 February-18 March
Canterbury, The Royal Museum 8 April – 14 May
Coventry, Mead Gallery, University of Warwick
Arts Centre 20 May – 25 June
Worcester City Art Gallery 1 July – 5 August
Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum 4 November – 10 December
London, Camden Arts Centre 10 January – 11 February 1990