Sheffield Galleries

‘Hope is strong’ at the Millennium Gallery

Copyright of Museums Sheffield

With far right parties and hate crimes on the rise, civil liberties and minority rights seem more at risk today than we could have imagined. In these turbulent times, Hope is Strong explores the power of art to question the world we live in.

See Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave Archive (An Injury to One is an Injury to All), chronicling the confrontations between police and striking miners in South Yorkshire.

Hope is Strong also features work by Ruth Ewan, Flying Leaps, Mona Hatoum, Sharon Kivland, Goshka Macuga, Keith Piper and more.

Hope is Strong is a free exhibition and will be showcased until 10 June, 2018. 

200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield

The Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield exhibition opens at the Weston Park Museum on 6 February until 1 July, 2018. 

Cole not dole

Copyright of Museums Sheffield

The passing of the Representation of the People Act on 6 February 1918 was a major electoral reform which extended voting rights to 8.5 million women across the UK. The Act was the result of a long struggle for the suffrage movement and the beginnings of British democracy as we know it today. To mark the 100th anniversary of this milestone in the development of our electoral system, Changing Lives: 200 Years of People and Protest in Sheffield will celebrate how people in our city have stood up for what they believe in over the past two centuries.

Among the stories featured in the exhibition will be that of Sheffield Women Against Pit Closures, a group formed soon after the Miners’ Strike in 1984, whose Houghton Main pit camp brought public attention to further pit closures in the 1990s. The exhibition will also include local photographer Chris Saunders’ powerful portraits of people involved in Sheffield’s current tree protests.

The exhibition will examine how protesters have employed a variety of creative strategies to support their cause, from Samuel Holberry and the Sheffield Chartists to fly posters from the 2016 Black Lives Matter campaign. Visitors will find out more about the 1911 census evasion, led by suffragette and Sheffield resident, Adela Pankhurst, as well the radical writings of The Sheffield Register (1787-1794) and The Sheffield Iris (1794-1825).

Changing Lives will also showcase how Sheffield residents have demonstrated unity in protests on a local, national and international level. Visitors will discover objects from the World Peace Congress held at Sheffield City Hall in 1950, alongside placards and banners from more recent protests, including those supporting Junior Doctors, as well as the anti-Trump demonstrations which took place in the city and around the globe in 2017.

Save me

Copyright of Museums Sheffield


Louisa Briggs, Project Curator (Sheffield: Protest & Activism) said:

“Sheffield has an incredible history of protest and activism. The passion people have shown, the commitment they’ve demonstrated, and the sacrifices they’ve often made for the causes that matter to them are a hugely important part of the city’s story.  We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share that story through this exhibition at Weston Park Museum.” 

Visit for more information.

Sheffield artist Jo Peel isn’t only interested in cityscapes

Jo Peel is the epitome of the urban artist. Her cityscapes have decorated walls, restaurants and galleries around the world, redefining what has traditionally been known as a beautiful landscape. But it was Sheffield that sparked this fascination with urban environments and in her interview with Sheff Culture, she tells us how this began and where it has led her.

Copyright Jo Peel

One of Sheffield’s most impressive home-grown artists, Jo Peel has worked all over the world, from London to Tokyo, Pittsburgh and Poland but she remains drawn to the steel city. “Sheffield was a great city to grow up in. It’s probably why after being away for so long that I have migrated back. It’s got a real sense of community and is small enough to get around mainly on foot, but it is also big enough to surprise you. And the Peaks of course, I love the openness of the hills so close to the city.”

Peel’s work has been exhibited in galleries across Sheffield and she continues to be inspired by its industrial surroundings: “I think Sheffield was a huge influence on my work and I didn’t really realise until I moved back. The people of Sheffield are deeply connected to their environment and there is a strong sense of identity. When I worked on my solo show at the Millennium Gallery, this was the influence for that work. Comparing Sheffield with Pittsburgh in the USA to see how a connection to the roots of a steel city feed into the current environment and the people.”

Copyright Jo Peel

Although Peel has visited so many other industrial landscapes, it is clear that she has a particular affinity with Sheffield. After spending her youth here, she studied in Cornwall and resided in London for a while until finally resettling in the South Yorkshire city.

“Growing up, the industrial past always seemed so relevant and so close. There was this real sense of community and an understanding of what it meant to be from Sheffield. When I moved away I was surprised that this strength of identity wasn’t shared so strongly by other towns and cities within the UK.”

Capturing the identity of a city seems almost instinctive for Peel, a quality her artwork reflects, “I think that buildings can take on character and a humanity. When I draw and paint I try to understand the small elements that make up the bigger picture and make a place unique.”

Peel’s art is easily identifiable, featuring cityscapes of cranes, factories and building sites- subjects in contrast to more traditional landscape painters, she admits “I’ve never been interested in painting natural landscapes up to this point as I just feel like the beauty is already there. There are artists who are able to evoke this beauty on canvas or in photography, but for me I just don’t feel like there is anything to explore artistically. When I am in the city it’s like my mind becomes alive and I just want to capture moments and tell stories.”

Not only is Peel’s work recognisable for its unique subject matter but also for her individual colour palette. Black and white outlines are often splashed with bright blue and orange to transform a grey industrial backdrop into an urban Eden.

Copyright Jo Peel

“I didn’t deliberately choose the colours, but they sort of found their way in through a process of elimination. I used to use a lot more colours but I realised that when painting buildings onto buildings, a paired back colour scheme works better, as more colour and texture can just get lost amidst the environment. Black and white line work mirrors my pen drawings on paper. Blue seemed like an obvious choice due to the lines of the sky and then orange has slowly crept back in. The luminous orange is so prevalent on building sites and on traffic signals so I think I was always drawn to it for this reason.”

With the end of the year approaching, Peel has been extremely busy but 2018 isn’t looking any calmer. “In January and February I’m off to Cambodia to paint some murals. In March I have a few projects lined up in London and Amsterdam and I’m working towards an Amsterdam based exhibition with Mark McClure as well as a large scale mural in London.”

Copyright Jo Peel

Peel has also “been interested in making a show comparing manufactured cities in different countries around the world (Brasilia in Brazil, Dubai) to see how culture and ideologies affect the place and how humans deconstruct what was meant to be perfect.”

As the influence that humans have on their environment becomes more and more important, it is interesting to hear the perspective of someone who works so closely with the man-made environment. Of the conflict between preserving the world’s natural environment and expanding our cities to accommodate for ever increasing population growth Peel explains, “ultimately if we continue at this rate there won’t be enough resources. I’ve already seen this happening in places like Bali, where there just isn’t enough electricity and water to go around due to the demand and cooler climate in the form of air conditioning as well as an influx of people demanding fresh water and resources.”

“I think we need to maintain and respect our environment, but the system needs to change and so does education. By creating change on a micro level we can influence things but it has to be a group effort and we might just not have enough time.”

From Sheffield to Bali, Peel has clearly been influenced by both land and cityscapes and, even as an urban artist, realises the importance of maintaining natural as well as man-made environments.

Dan Holdsworth: Mapping the Limits of Space

Saturday 16 December 2017 – Saturday 16 March 2018

The latest work by artist Dan Holdsworth will make its UK debut as part of a new solo exhibition opening at Sheffield’s Graves Gallery this December. Charting Holdsworth’s explorations of the relationship between landscape photography, science and technology, Mapping the Limits of Space will present the artist’s most recent series, Continuous Topography, alongside key works from the last 7 years.

Continuous Topography (2016) is a remarkable reimaging of the glaciers of the Mont Blanc Massif in the Chamonix Valley, France.

 © Dan Holdsworth

The series is the result of painstaking fieldwork which saw Holdsworth collaborate with a research geologist to capture hundreds of photographic images. These images were subsequently processed through GPS technology and sophisticated software to create a unique 3D model of the landscape, with every contour mapped in seemingly impossible detail. The works, which Holdsworth calls a form of “future archaeology”, place the landscape in the context of the geological ages through which it has developed and will ultimately degrade.

Through his use of digital mapping data, Holdsworth has expanded the photographic process in order to develop a new aesthetic language that explores the changing nature of human perception in relation to that of our evolving science and technologies. Whilst embracing the latest technological developments, Holdsworth’s work also openly refers to the history and tradition of landscape photography.

© Dan Holdsworth.

Continuous Topography will go on show alongside a range of recent works which investigate this interface between traditional and digital processes, and the geological and technological world,
including Blackout (2010), Forms FTP (2013), Spatial Objects (2015), and Transmission: New Remote Earth Views (2012).

Kirstie Hamilton, Head of Exhibitions and Displays, at Museums Sheffield said:
“Dan Holdsworth creates his work through an incredible amount of research, thought and skill. The way in which his process pushes the boundaries of photographic practice resonates powerfully with the issues that his work challenges the viewer to consider.  Ultimately, his work makes us reflect on the vastness of the natural landscape, our place within in it, and the impact we have on it. His interest in the ideas of John Ruskin and Sheffield’s location adjacent to the Peak National Park makes showing Dan’s at the Graves Gallery  all the more relevant. ”

Dan Holdsworth’s work has been featured in international solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Tate (London).

Dan Holdsworth: Mapping the Limits of Space opens at the Graves Gallery on Saturday 16 December and continues until Saturday 16 March 2018. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, an exhibition at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, is set to explore the influence of Eric Ravilious and his circle, and their impact on British visual culture during the 1930s.


Eric R

Eric Ravilious, 74 Cross to Airmen, 1933. Wood Lea Press.


Based on new research, Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship shines a spotlight on the work of Ravilious and his personal and professional relationships with artists including Paul Nash, John Nash, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman, Tirzah Garwood, Edward Bawden, Thomas Hennell, Douglas Percy Bliss, Peggy Angus, Helen Binyon and Diana Low.

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship brings together over 400 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, engravings, books ceramics, wallpapers and textiles created during the interwar years. The exhibition highlights key moments in the artists’ lives and work, from first meeting at the Royal College of Art to the evolution of their artistic practices into commercial and industrial design during the turbulent times of the 1930s and 1940s.

Imbued with a tangible sense of time and place, Ravilious’ watercolours and wood engravings offer a unique portrait of England as the first half of the 20th century began to draw to a close. This major exhibition celebrates the creativity of Ravilious and that of his closest friends. It brings to life the significant relationships and collaborations within one of the most widely influential – though largely unexplored – networks of English artist designers of the twentieth century to tell a remarkable story of creative achievement, joy, and ultimately, tragedy.

Marking the 75th anniversary of the Ravilious’ tragic death in Iceland during the Second World War, the exhibition has been curated by Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne and Andy Friend, author of a new biography, Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, published earlier this year by Thames & Hudson.

Andy said, “we are truly fortunate that the generosity of over seventy public and private lenders has allowed us to fully explore the versatility and vitality of this fascinating group of artist designers.  Many items have not been seen since the 1930s and it is particularly exciting to be able to show striking work by hitherto lesser known women artists alongside a wealth of better known works by Ravilious, Bawden and the Nash brothers.”

Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship at the Millennium Gallery continues until 7 January 2018. Entry to the exhibition is free.



Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House

Copyright of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Copyright of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Weston Park Museum hosts ‘Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House’, an exhibition which takes visitors on a journey through the history of the home through 12 intricately crafted doll houses spanning over 300 years.

On tour from the V&A Museum of Childhood, the exhibition sees country mansions, suburban villas, newly-built council estates and high-rise apartments tell the tales of marriages, parties, politics and crime, as each house is brought to life by the characters that live and work there.

The houses show developments in architecture and design, from ornate Georgian townhouses to contemporary urban living spaces. Each house is displayed in interactive showcases that allow visitors to activate audio narration and illuminate characters as they share their story.

Kirstie Hamilton, Head of Exhibitions and Displays at Museums Sheffield, said “we’re delighted to continue our partnership with the V&A with this exhibition. Small Stories offers a unique window on how we used to live through these wonderful examples of meticulous craftsmanship, some of the stars of the V&A Museum of Childhood’s collection. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the exhibition to Sheffield to share with our visitors at Weston Park Museum.”

The V&A Museum of Childhood’s collections will be complemented by a dolls’ house from Sheffield’s own collection dating from around 1900, on show in the museum’s main thoroughfare. The house was made for a little girl called Dorothy. When she was young she pronounced her own name as “Dophy”, and called the house ‘Dophy Villa’. The house has working electric lights and was decorated with contemporary wallpaper and flooring.

Other highlights of the exhibition include 19030s hedonistic haven, a home prepared for WW2 and a modern, millennial house:

Whiteladies House was designed and by artist Moray Thomas in the 1930 and reflects some of the Modernist country villas that were emerging at the time. Features include chrome furniture, a cocktail bar and artworks by British Futurist Claude Flight, as well as a swimming pool. Its story centres on a house party, with revellers enjoying the pool and sunbathing on the roof.

The Hopkinson House is based on the houses in 1930s suburbs. The interiors show a Second World War-era family in intricate detail, poised for an air-raid, with miniature gasmasks, ration books and torches for the blackouts.

Kaleidoscope House (2011) was house was designed by Laurie Simmons. Its multi-coloured translucent walls are filled with miniature replicas of furniture and artworks by Ron Arad, Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger. The house is home to a design conscious step-family living in the new millennium.

The exhibition is open to the public until 7th January and entrance is free.




Picturing Sheffield at the Weston Park Museum

One exhibition which encapsulates both the rural and urban beauty of Sheffield is ‘Picturing Sheffield’ at the Weston Park Museum. Just one room is enough to capture the famously industrial yet green landscape of Sheffield throughout the last 200 years. The exhibition takes you from Sheffield’s earlier history to the city’s present state through four main themes: portraits of the city, lost Sheffield, city of industry and Sheffield at leisure.

Portraits of the city conveys Sheffield through the eyes of various different artists, in various different styles. Patchwork hills hang alongside darker, more abstract paintings like Mark Wilson’s ‘Sheffield from Meersbrook Park’ which uses warm, purple hues to show the city’s skyline in a modern and elegant way. Nearby, a painting from 1840, by an unknown artist, depicts Kelham Island using bright, jolly colours and gives an insight into what Kelham Island, renowned for being one of Sheffield’s trendiest areas, would have looked like over 100 years ago. Emily Taylor uses a ceramic vase to give a more urban take on Sheffield as she etches a young couple, wearing a hoody and hoop earrings, looking out onto a very built up view of the city.

Lost Sheffield gives precious detail about features of the city which no longer exist. The 19th century artist James Poole captured ‘Donati’s Comet’, a comet seen shooting over Sheffield in 1958, over Little London Dam- a dam which no longer remains. Meanwhile, ‘Hole in the Road’, a painting from Anthony Lowe in 1986, pictures the network of shops and underpasses under the roundabout near Arundel Gate. Demolished in the 1990s to accommodate the Supertram, the Castle Square tram stop marks the area today.

City of industry promotes the rich industrial heritage of the city. Once known as a ‘steel city’, the prominence of Sheffield’s steel industry through its history cannot be ignored. Snapshots of the insides of steel factories and the workers that operated them are shown through an array of paintings. Robert Penistone’s 2008 painting depicts a vivid orange scene of an open hearth furnace. The almost cartoon-like portrait observes the factory floor mid-shift, dotted with factory workers chatting, reading the newspapers and, of course, supervising the furnace.

Sheffield at leisure is the final yet most exciting section of the exhibition. Vibrant cityscapes offer a fun and refreshing portrayal of Sheffield. ‘A Perfect Day’ by Pete McKee shows a middle-aged couple and their dog enjoying a hillside picnic with wine and a vinyl record player, peacefully reflecting on some of the city’s landmarks, like City Hall and the Arts Tower. Jo Peel captures Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield’s greyhound racing track devoid of spectators and grey hounds whilst Joe Scarborough portrays a very different scene of, what looks like, the entire population of Sheffield enjoying a party in the streets. The lively atmosphere, filled with live bands, swishing skirts and busy bar staff is tangible.

Picturing Sheffield is a permanent exhibition at the Weston Park Museum. If grey skies cast a shadow over the, usually, bright views of the city then head down to see a more vibrant display.