The divine art of photography
Portraits from the Harrogate Photography Collection
Opens 15 September 2018

Harrogate has an outstanding collection of photographs that ranges from images documenting nineteenth century life in the town and important portraits by the great Victorian artist Julia Margaret Cameron, to major works by contemporary Yorkshire photographers.

Photography was one of the great discoveries of the Victorian age. Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a pioneer of the new art and it was she who coined the phrase 'The Divine Art of Photography.' Cameron took up the challenging new technology aged 48 and made more than 1,200 images in her short career.

Alongside classic examples of Cameron's work you will see images by Walter Hanlon (1926 - 2009) who worked as a photographer about 100 years later in the 1950s, specialising in the world of entertainment, especially Jazz, and he would set off into the London Jazz clubs armed with his Rolleiflex camera and hope that the stars, such as Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, would agree to be snapped.

In recent years the Mercer has developed a policy for collecting contemporary art which includes the work of important Yorkshire based photographers, represented in this exhibition by landscape artist Liza Dracup, documentary photographer Tim Smith, portraitist Paul Floyd Blake and international artist Tessa Bunney.

From today painting is dead
Paintings from the Harrogate Fine Art Collection
Opens 22 September 2018

This new Mercer exhibition looks at how the invention of photography in the 1830s shook painting to its foundations and one shocked artist declared 'From today, painting is dead!'

Photographs could depict the world better and faster than painting and threatened to make some types of painting defunct. But painting lives on.

A wealth of paintings from the Harrogate Collection looks at the ways in which painting and photography have complemented each other. Works by artists such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Atkinson Grimshaw, G F Watts and Therese Lessore illustrate how painters use the photograph in their art, and photographers imitate painterly techniques.

Online enquiries form

Page last updated 07/11/2018