William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters Are Rare

We are excited to launch our new exhibition, ‘William Stott of Oldham: Great Painters Are Rare’ on Saturday 26 January 2019. The exhibition will explore the work of the world famous Oldham-born artist William Stott.

Stott’s most celebrated painting, Le Passeur, will be the centre piece of the exhibition and the full installation will explore William’s most celebrated works and the legacy he left behind. It will also include loans from Tate, Touchstones Rochdale, Manchester Art Gallery and Aberdeen Art Gallery, as well as key works from Gallery Oldham’s own collection.

Le Passeur (The Ferryman), 1881. Copyright Tate. Purchased with funds provided by The National Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and the Hintze Charitable Foundation

Some of the pieces are by Stott himself and others are by those who worked with the La Passeur creator, and of course, those who came after. For most of his career, Stott painted landscapes, but he went in a different direction during the late 1880s and began to move towards pictures involving classical figures and allegorical themes, such as ‘Hide and Seek in the Garden of Epicurus’ and ‘The Birth of Venus’. Stott mainly worked in oils, watercolours and pastels, media appropriate to his atmospheric style.

In 2017 Le Passeur (The Ferryman) by William Stott of Oldham (1857 -1900) was secured for the British public through major gifts from The National Heritage Lottery Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from The Wolfson Family Foundation) and The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. The acquisition of Le Passeur (The Ferryman) has inspired a national partnership programme. The work will tour to four UK-partner galleries from 2018 – 2020: Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre, Southampton City Art Gallery, Gallery Oldham and Aberdeen Art Gallery. Le Passeur will feature in a bespoke context-rich display at each partner venue, complemented by learning resources and a programme of training for staff and volunteers.

Paul Jacques, Cabinet Member for Education and Culture, said:
“It’s an honour that such a prominent member of the art community was born and raised in Oldham. These paintings are part of a national collection and they’re famous for a reason. Usually you’d have to go to the large galleries in London or Scotland to see work of this calibre so it’s fantastic that it will be here on people’s doorsteps in Oldham to view for free.
“His legacy still lives on in our town and I’m sure his artwork has inspired many younger artists of this generation. I’m thrilled for this exhibitions arrival and I’ll certainly be visiting Gallery Oldham to browse the historic artwork from not just Stott, but local artists as well.”

The exhibition runs until 11 May. Look out for our range of accompanying talks and activities.