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English Cathedrals: Drawings by Dennis Creffield

Arts Council Touring Exhibition from the Southbank Centre

Sat 20 May – Sat 24 Jun 1989

In 1987, Dennis Creffield was commissioned by the Arts Council to make drawings of all the medieval cathedrals of England. The charcoal drawings are not descriptions of the building but deeply felt evocations of the artist’s own experience of them. He made a number of studies in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral, specially for the Mead Gallery exhibition. In 1989 the University bought three of these drawings for its Art Collection.

A year later Creffield wrote about his experience:

“The spire and empty shell of the old cathedral church of Coventry is closely surrounded by tall trees it is also in a secluded but busy part of the city centre. These two conditions dictated that I drew either in the winter or early spring – at dawn or in the evening. I returned a number of times but the final drawings were made on the evening/morning of 23rd/24th March 1988. There was an angry, fitful, buffeting, equinoctial gale blowing and it was only later when looking at the drawings (I don’t look at the drawings while drawing, I simply smell, listen and respond to them) that I recognised a visual emotional connection in them with that terrible night in 1940 when the cathedral was gutted by fire bombs.”

Sponsored by the Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham