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A Life in Art: The Muriel Wilson Bequest

[ Exhibition )

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A boy wearing a jacket covered in badges stands against a green background with another man holding a painting of a heart behind him.

Peter Blake, Boy with Paintings, 1957-9, oil and enamels on wood, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government from the estate of Muriel Wilson and allocated to Pallant House Gallery, 2019) © Peter Blake. All rights reserved, DACS 2020.

An important early Peter Blake painting is one of the exceptional pieces from the collection of Muriel Wilson.

Curator and collector Muriel Wilson helped to introduce British art to the world during the 20th century. Discover works from her collection by artists such as Peter Blake, David Hockney and Eduardo Paolozzi, left to the Gallery upon her death.

The collection of Muriel Wilson (1933-2018) includes significant paintings, prints and sculptures by Michael Andrews, Peter Blake, Prunella Clough, Laura Ford, David Hockney, Eduardo Paolozzi, and more.

Muriel Wilson was an important figure in the British art world. She helped to organise early shows of artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson, helping to place both artists firmly on the art world map.

In 1955, she married Prof Sir Colin St John (‘Sandy’) Wilson, the architect of the British Library and Pallant House Gallery’s contemporary wing. The Wilsons were significant collectors of British art both individually and as a couple, and were early supporters of artists including Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson.

Following her divorce from Wilson, she worked with the British Council where she promoted the work of British artists abroad, including taking Richard Long to the Venice Biennale. She was also instrumental in introducing many important overseas artists to UK audiences.

Find out more about The Wilson Gift and Loan

Wilson was also a key figure in the world of contemporary jewellery supporting many young makers and always known for wearing distinctive and unique pieces.

Muriel Wilson’s collection joins that of other female collectors at the Gallery, including criminal psychologist Elizabeth Burney, Claire Neilson (presented by Jeremy Greenwood and Jeremy Swerdlow) and Ann Dannatt (who built her collection with her husband George Dannatt). By continuing to acquire collections amassed by women, the Gallery aims to redress historical imbalances and tell the wider story of 20th century art in Britain, including the stories of collectors.

Plan your visit

Please visit our FAQs to find out more about how we are making your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.

As a precaution against coronavirus we have removed hard copy versions of our large print labels from the gallery spaces.

We encourage anyone who would like large print labels to download them in advance of their visit.

Download the labels for this exhibition

We have also implemented a one-way system through the Gallery. You can download a copy of the floorplan ahead of your visit as well.

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