Folk Art from The American Museum in Britain
- Presents pieces from the exceptionally fine collection at The American Museum in Britain, explaining and elaborating on the diverse artistic legacy of this extraordinary genre
Housed in Claverton Manor on the outskirts of the Georgian city of Bath, the American Museum in Britain celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011. ‘Folk art’ is a misunderstood term in Britain, often indiscriminatingly used as a synonym for ‘unsophisticated’ or ‘amateur’. At Claverton Manor, its American context is conveyed: the artistic legacy of the artisan and amateur in pre-industrial America, with pieces often designed for a practical purpose – such as bird decoys, weathervanes, trade signs and child likenesses in an age of high infant mortality. The folk art collection is one of the key ways the museum introduces its largely British audience to a distinctly American aesthetic. Important works include over 200 American quilts, 30 santos and scrimshaw signed by Frederick Myrick Some of America’s greatest folk painters are represented, including John Brewster Jr, Ammi Phillips, Thomas Chambers, Sturtevant Hamblen and Grandma Moses.
Laura Beresford has worked with historic collections for over 20 years in New Zealand, Canadian, and British museums. After her return to the UK in 1998, she won acclaim for her presentation of historic house interiors. Since 2006, she has been the curator of the American Museum in Britain.