Arts Derbyshire


Exhibition showcasing images of ‘old Derby’ opening at the Museum and Art Gallery

An exhibition showcasing one of Derby Museums’ best-loved collections is opening at the Museum and Art Gallery this Saturday 23 March. A View of Derby: The Alfred Edward Goodey Collection of ‘Old Derby’ Pictures will display a selection of paintings, drawings, prints, and objects from Alfred Edward Goodey’s collection.

Between the years 1936 and 1945, the people of Derby were presented with a gift of over 500 paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs of the town, dating from the late 1600s through to the early 1930s. The donor was philanthropist and art collector Alfred Edward Goodey and his collection of ‘Old Derby Pictures’ would go down in local history as the single largest and most important visual record of the town’s development ever created.

Alfred Goodey was a larger-than-life character who was well-known in derby due to his distinctive appearance and involvement in local amateur dramatics, music and art clubs. Goodey was born in Derby in 1878, before going on to study at the Derby School of Art. He served in France and Egypt during the First World War, where he is said to have fallen very ill; a circumstance that may have contributed to a renewed interest in collecting art upon his return to Derby after the end of the war. On Goodey’s return home, Derby was changing – older buildings and narrow streets made way for modern homes and roads suitable for motor cars. Goodey wanted to maintain a visual record of buildings and areas that were in danger of being lost and commissioned many of the works in this collection.

As an artist himself, Goodey was keen to encourage art locally and so appointed fellow artists to make works for his collection, notable artists include Alfred John Keene and Ernest Townsend. Goodey also bequeathed a sum of money towards the building of a much-needed extension to the Museum and Art Gallery, which was completed in 1964. Since that time, Derby Museums has acquired personal objects as well as works that formed part of Goodey’s original collection; identified by the survival of a bespoke printed label that was pasted onto the back of each of his pictures. The collection now numbers almost 800 objects.

A View of Derby presents a selection of works from this vast collection, as well as other objects that explore the context behind its creation and what the works mean to Derby and its people today. As part of the exhibition, visitors will be encouraged to share their memories and knowledge of the places depicted in the hope that Derby Museums can build up a fuller picture of individual items and the collection more broadly.

Lucy Bamford, Senior Curator of Art at Derby Museums and Co-curator of A View of Derby, said: “We always look forward to sharing works from Goodey’s collection with visitors. It’s importance to Derby folk, almost 80 years on from Goodey’s last gift of pictures to Derby Museums, remains undiminished and will, no doubt, be a big talking point at a time when Derby is once again going through a period of redevelopment and change. We’re really keen to capture a sense of what these pictures and the places they depict mean to people today, as well as personal memories that might help enhance the information we hold about the collection.”

A View of Derby: The Alfred Edward Goodey Collection of ‘Old Derby’ Pictures runs from Saturday 23 March until Sunday 26 May at Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The show is free to enter, donations welcome.

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