This book is published to mark the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham, an exceptional cultural resource that combines one of the finest small art galleries in the world with a superb concert hall and research facilities. The Barber was founded in December 1932 by Lady Barber (nee Hattie Onions), widow of Sir Henry Barber, a wealthy local property developer and lawyer, 'for the study and encouragement of art and music'. The Barbers' lives, interests and motivations for founding the Institute, and for providing a source of substantial income to build and develop it, are the subject of one of the five essays in this book. Following an introduction that considers some of the models for the Barber, other chapters explore the University's response to Lady Barber's initiative; the career of the Barber's first, outstanding Director, Thomas Bodkin, and the remarkable acquisitions of fine and decorative arts he made for it; and the great impact of Lady Barber's gift on musical life at the University.
The book is the product of extensive new research by a team of authors, and provides a fascinating and valuable insight into the conception, birth and formative years of one of the UK's most revered cultural institutions. It is lavishly illustrated with 120 colour and archival images, many previously unpublished, and includes an extensive appendix listing all the acquisitions made under Bodkin's directorship for the Barber during the first two decades of its existence.
Publisher: Scala Publishers Ltd