Annotations and Tate history in the Bowness Collection

In March 2021, I began a secondment in the Collections & Academic Liaison department. A major component of my job was to continue the work of cataloguing the exhibition catalogues that belonged to the late Professor Sir Alan Bowness (donation arranged by Sophie Bowness). Sir Alan was head of the Tate Gallery from 1980 to 1988, he was personally connected to Barbara Hepworth and other artists, and laid the foundation for the Tate St Ives, among many other accomplishments.

The Bowness Collection is not only important and interesting in terms of the individual items of the collection, but in the way it reflects the art market and the direction of the Tate Gallery’s acquisitions. The collection contains many smaller catalogues, view cards, exhibition posters, and other ephemera which are often inserted in accompanying catalogues. Going through these exhibition catalogues I have gained insights into the world of gallery openings, blockbuster exhibits, and contemporary art.

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