The Golder - Thompson Gift
Dr Mark Golder and Mr Brian Thompson are two private collectors who generously support Pallant House Gallery’s ongoing development of a collection of over 500 contemporary works on paper and ceramics.
Since 2001 they have worked closely with us to create a collection of prints by providing an annual purchasing fund, supplemented with further gifts from their own collection.
This unusual model of philanthropy has helped to form a unique collection, an ongoing creative conversation with successive directors, curators and other members of the curatorial staff. Over five hundred prints have been donated through the Golder – Thompson Gift so far, largely as individually selected prints, or as mixed-artist print portfolios.
As a student, Golder attended a talk by Walter Hussey, the first patron of Pallant House Gallery, on the joys of art patronage; those ideas stayed with him and he began collecting prints in 1986 after meeting the Spanish printmaker Roberto Gonzalez-Fernandez. Both Golder and Thompson see printmaking in particular as a democratic art form. The works they choose to collect are contemporary prints supporting living artists: men and women, young and old, established and new.
Initially Golder and Thompson focused on collecting Scottish works. This has created one of the most interesting collections of contemporary Scottish prints outside Scotland. The decision to acquire a collection of prints from north of the border reflects not only the political devolution of the United Kingdom, but also the fact that, as a gallery of Modern British art, Pallant House Gallery should acquire and exhibit art from across the British Isles.
A more recent focus for the collection has been on works by Royal Academicians and reflects a younger generation of Academicians who are the successors to the generation so well represented by the Wilson collection. This includes works by Rebecca Salter, Emma Stibbon, Bob and Roberta Smith, Anne Desmet, Hughie O’Donoghue, Cathie Pilkington, Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin. The Gift now includes work by over seventy artists, ranging from established figures such as John Bellany, Elizabeth Blackadder , and Ian Hamilton Finlay to younger contemporary artists including Anya Gallacio, Michael Landy, and Rachel Whiteread.
Their preference is not just for works by the most recognised names in contemporary art. Instead, the prints selected through the Golder – Thompson Gift have had ‘something to say’, showing technical accomplishment or promise, a Neo-Platonic ideal of what Golder, a Classics teacher and former monk, calls ‘the good, the beautiful, the true’. Certain themes have emerged: an interest in figuration and literary subject matter; environmental concerns; and a group of prints informed by Thompson’s interest in abstraction.
David Mach, Big Heid (1994)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2002) © David Mach
Peter Howson, Suspicious Boy (1994)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2001) © Peter Howson c/o Flowers Gallery
Paula Rego, Crumpled (2002)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2007) © The Artist
Bronwen Sleigh, Nigg II (2005)
Pallant House Gallery (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2008) © The Artist
Pat Douthwaite, Smoking Skull, from 'Apples Kabuki' Suite (1988)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2003) © Estate of Pat Douthwaite
Philip Reeves, Bridge (2005)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2009) ©The Artist
Jessica Harrison, The Annunciation (2007)
Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (The Golder – Thompson Gift, 2009) Courtesy of the Artist.