Art in Kent

Royal Academy Summer exhibition

Royal Academy Summer exhibition - Credit: Archant

From eccentric antique pottery to 1960s artists at The Beaney and a subscriber exclusive eveing at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Antique of the Month

By Tony Pratt of The Canterbury Auction Galleries

Maiolica with an i, has been around since the 15th century, most notably in Renaissance Italy, while in the 16th century French eccentric Bernard Palissy potted a series of extraordinary pieces in which fish, snakes and lizards appear in scarily realistic three-dimensional reliefs.

Majolica with a j, however, is a type of colourful lead-glazed earthenware pottery, probably invented by the great Herbert Minton. It was seen for the first time at the Great Exhibition of 1851, under the name Palissy ware.

Visitors loved it and the display won a medal for Minton and orders from Queen Victoria. Its popularity assured, the factory was the sole manufacturer for the next 15 years. The name was less successful, though, so it was re-christened Majolica.

Designs were playful and amusing: dishes for nuts with a squirrel sitting in the centre; cheese dishes with a ruminant cow on the top or a game pie tureen with a quail and her chicks on the lid.

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Majolica mirth even went as far as to poke fun at Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species with teapots and garden seats held by monkeys. We sold this one for £3,000, despite extensive damage and repair.

? For a free saleroom valuation of your pottery and porcelain, please telephone Chris Wacker on 01227 763337 to make arrangements. We have specialists who can tell whether it dates from the 16th or the 19th century. The service is entirely without obligation.

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – subscriber exclusive

Kent Life is working with the Royal Academy to offer our subscribers the opportunity to attend a private viewing of the Summer Exhibition.

This year’s exhibition is co-ordinated by Michael Craig-Martin RA, a leading artist of his generation and the teacher who nurtured the talents of Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst.

His distinctive creative vision promises room after room bursting with variety, colour and remarkable new work by leading and emerging artists – all handpicked from more than12,000 entries.

The event is on the evening of 18 July at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD. Space is limited so only available on a first come, first-served basis.

Tickets are £22 per person plus a £1.50 booking fee.

? If you are interested in discovering the benefits of becoming a subscriber, don’t miss out - trial six issues for just £6 today. Please visit: or call 0844 848 4211 and quote promotion code LMMRA15A

Home and away

A new exhibition at the Beaney in Canterbury brings together two bodies of work by British artists from the second half of the 1960s that look very different but may have more in common than first appears.

General Dynamic F.U.N is one of Eduardo Paolozzi’s great print series, fusing clashing images culled from magazines to create bold provocative collages.

The initial celebration of a new fantasy world of advertising and technology gives way to darker undertones of excess, and the sinister impact of the USA, which at the time was embroiled in a war in Vietnam to which Paolozzi and many others were deeply opposed.

During the same years, Tony Ray-Jones was drawing on the example of the new American photography that he had absorbed during a protracted stay (returning home in 1965).

He celebrated and captured the people, rituals and places (notably coastal resorts in the south east, such as Broadstairs and Margate) that provided an authentic, quirky alternative to an increasingly uniform, Americanised world.

Beneath the contrast between colourful collages and black and white photographs is a discernible shared anxiety about the transatlantic relationship and a common feel for surreal juxtaposition.

? Home and Away is in the Special Exhibitions Room at the Beaney until 23 August. Running alongside the exhibition are activities and talks exploring the themes of ‘home’ and ‘away’ as part of the University of Kent’s 50th anniversary celebrations. For more details, go to

Instead of charging an admission fee, visitors are asked to pay what they can, with contributions going towards future programming of special exhibitions at the Beaney.

All About Art

BBC One Big Painting Challenge contestant Melvyn Flint from Sutton Valence will be a special guest at the UK’s largest hands-on art event, All About Art this month.

Melvyn, a member of the SAA, Society for All Artists, which organises this annual event held at the Business Design Centre in London, 23-25 July.

All About Art features workshops, demonstrations and practical sessions giving amateur and professional artists a chance to develop new skills and work with new materials and paints.

Melvyn will share his tales from filming and competing in the BBC’s hunt for the nation’s best amateur artist. He will also be staging a Meet & Greet during his appearance 24 July.

? Advance tickets to All About Art are now on sale priced from £10 via or 0800 980 1123.