Artists in the Archives

on Tuesday, 19 November 2019.

We are coming to the end of our National Lottery Heritage Funded Creative Wiltshire project which ran from 2014 and aimed to collect and celebrate the work of the county’s creative people. Over the course of the project we made many and varied acquisitions for museums across the county; read more about the project, the artists and its acquisitions on the Creative Wiltshire website and watch a short film celebrating the impact of the project for local museums.

One of the final acquisitions we have been able to make is a collection of artwork by Janet Boulton

Selection of some of the artwork and sketches by Janet Boulton (monoprints, collages, and sketch books) under accession number 4469

Janet is an artist with strong connections to Wiltshire and Swindon. She was born in Swindon in 1936, and studied at Swindon School of Art from 1953-55 before going to the painting school at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts until 1958. Some of the material we have collected was inspired by her time working at Westinghouse in Chippenham in the years immediately after she left Camberwell. She says “during the dinner break I took to making pencil drawings in a small lined notebook, standing around outside in various positions within the works”.

In 1977 Swindon Museum and Art Gallery hosted an exhibition by Janet Boulton called ‘Windows and Reflections’ which showcased her paintings of and through windows.

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Janet Boulton Exhibition 1977

Janet also worked part time as an art teacher in Swindon at Commonweal and Hereod Burna Schools, and at Swindon College. During this time she still practiced as an artist and one of her paintings ‘End of Term, Commonweal School’ was exhibited at Salisbury Museum’s ‘Creative Wiltshire: A Celebration of Art in Wiltshire’ exhibition in 2019.

We are hoping to continue to develop the themes of the Creative Wiltshire project and to collect artistic material to preserve for public access and inspiration. The kinds of material we are looking to continue collecting include:

Sketch books
Drawings and sketches
Design ideas/notes – these may be in text format rather than just visual
Scrap books
Ephemera such as magazine articles, postcards, anything that might have been used as inspiration
Preparatory work – working drawings. These may be considered by some to be unimportant because they are unfinished or scrappy, but they are all part of a process.
Photographs – these may be of work no longer owned by the artist or of work in progress or of things that inspired future work.
Publicity material – this may be a poster for an exhibition, a list of exhibitors, it may have been designed by the artist.
Diaries and journals.
Samples – this might be a proof of a print, or a sample of a textile, or a fragment of a glaze or paint colour, depending on the artist’s preferred medium.
Tracings or cartoon used by artists to plan

We would also be keen to include anything that reflects the life and workspace of an artist; images of a studio or workspace, previous exhibitions, commissions etc.

Studio of Janet Boulton

Finally, if you are looking for some inspiration about how to use archives for artistic inspiration we have put together this Artists in the Archives Toolkit!

Naomi Sackett
Archivist

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