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Must-see Autumn exhibitions – Top 5 from around the UK

As the leaves turn a reddish brown, and the days begin to get colder, what better way to spend an afternoon than exploring the UK’s finest exhibits displaying some of the most impressive art from around the world.

Here are our top 5 exhibitions from around the UK during this Autumn season:

Must-see Autumn Exhibitions

Harry Potter: A History of Magic

British Library 20 October 2017 – 28 February 2018

Concentrating on the British Library’s capability to unearth rare books, manuscripts and magical objects, the exhibition marks the 20th anniversary of the world-renowned and adored publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the opening book in JK Rowling’s universally popular series.

Bringing together centuries-old artefacts from the library archives, original drafts and drawings by Rowling herself and illustrator Jim Kay, the exhibition’s structure is inspired by the subjects that Harry, Hermione and Ron’s study at Hogwarts, from Herbology to Care of Magical Creatures. Extensive details of the exhibition will be kept secret to ensure maximum excitement for fans, however some of the pieces on display will include early printed books depicting the creatures that inspired characters like Fawkes the Phoenix, and the items that influenced the art of alchemy.

Presented in conjunction with Rowling’s publisher, Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the latest addition to the ever-growing Harry Potter universe, the ‘Wizarding World’.

Must-see Autumn Exhibitions

Spirit in the Mass: Bomberg’s Legacy

Pallant House Gallery 21 October 2017 – 4 February 2018

Universally known as one of the most impactful and influential British painters of the 1900’s, at the time of his death in 1957 David Bomberg was a forgotten figure.

Spirit in the Mass: Bomberg’s Legacy celebrates the profound influence of David Bomberg on the various young artists he taught during his interval at the Borough Polytechnic from 1945-1953. Artists he taught included a range of established artists such as Dinora Mendelson, Dennis Creffield, Lilian Holt, Leslie Marr and Leon Kossoff.

Whilst some exhibited collectively as the Borough Group, others were influenced by his belief and teaching in capturing the pure essence of a particular subject, the term he coined to describe this was the ‘spirit of the mass’.

Must-see Autumn Exhibitions

Dalí / Duchamp Exhibition

Royal Academy of Arts 7 October 2017 – 3 January 2018 More information here

Working at the forefront of their respective fields – Dalí in Surrealism, and Duchamp now widely considered as the father of conceptual art – the pair enjoyed a long friendship, and their connection as well as their influence on each other is explored in this collection of around 60 works.

Dalí and Duchamp’s bond spanned much further than professional admiration, and this exhibition focuses on their personal and aesthetic commonalities. Both emanating a cutting humour and scepticism to their work, both committed themselves to challenging conventional ways of life as well as art.

The curators Dawn Ades, William Jeffett and Sarah Lea hope that, via the lens of this compelling friendship, attendees can gain a new perspective on two unorthodox minds, and perhaps even reassess their position in the history of art.

Must-see Autumn Exhibitions

Terry Pratchett: HisWorld

The Salisbury Museum 16 September 2017 – 13 January 2018 More information here

Terry Pratchett: HisWorld allows visitors to follow the author’s journey to becoming such a universally-loved figure, incorporating art by Pratchett himself, some of his prized possessions and over 40 original sketches and illustrations by Pratchett’s favourite artist, Paul Kidby.

Curated by Salisbury Museum’s own Richard Henry, the exhibition is presented for the most part in Pratchett’s own words – allowing visitors to not only have an opportunity to see some of the items he owned but also understand their relation to Pratchetts life and what they meant to him.


Some of the personal items on display include Pratchett’s staple hat, the first typewriter he ever owned and even a sword made specifically for his knighthood. Held in his hometown of Salisbury, the exhibition should be a fitting tribute to the author, who passed away after being diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s in 2015. 

Must-see Autumn Exhibitions

A Life in Art: GF Watts 1817-1904

Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village 28 February – 5 November 2017 More information here

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of GF Watts’ birth, the Watts Gallery has curated a selection of his paintings, drawings, sketches & sculptures, demonstrating the sheer gravitas of his talent.

The exhibition takes you on a chronological journey through his art career, highlighting key moments in his career, from early life and his rise to prominence to his status as a world-renowned artist.

Lesser known drawings and sketches from the collection make the case for why his peer Frederic Lord Leighton declared Watts as ‘England’s Michelangelo’, while his more intricate pieces provide insight into his creative process.

50% off entry during exhibitions and free entry at other times with a National Art Pass.

Hopefully you get a chance to attend a few, if not all, of the exhibitions listed above and experience the talent and expertise first hand. Let us know if there are any exhibitions that you’ll be attending that you think may be of interest and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn for more up-to-date conservation new’s, updates and information.


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