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Glenn Brown and The Enchanted Garden, Laing art gallery

Glenn Brown

Saturday 16 June - Sunday 21 October

In 2017, the Laing Art Gallery was the first recipient of the Contemporary Art Society’s ‘Great Works’ scheme. The artwork In the end we all succumb to the pull of the molten core a spectacular work by Glenn Brown was kindly donated to the collection, with the support of the artist and the Sfumato Foundation.

 Glenn Brown was born in nearby Hexham and is one of the most renowned British artists working today. Known for the use of art historical references in his paintings, Brown appropriates images changing their shape, form, colour, and dimension, traversing artistic time zones from the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo through to Impressionism, Expressionism and Surrealism and referencing artists such as Jean Louis Fragonard, Salvador Dalí and John Martin - who was also born in the north east. 

 Curated by the artist, together with Julie Milne, Chief Curator of the Laing, and generously supported by the Friends of the Laing Art Gallery. This exhibition will feature new works created by Brown, shown alongside his own rehang of the Laing’s painting collection. The exhibition will continue to build on the Laing's relationship with the artist. 

The Enchanted Garden

23 June – 7 October 2018

The Enchanted Garden is the first of a pair of exhibitions around the theme of ‘enchantment’ being curated by the art team at the Laing and developed around highlights from the Laing collection. The exhibition brings The Dustman or The Lovers by Stanley Spencer (1934) into the context of major works by British and French artists that explore the garden as a ‘stage’ for the extraordinary, the magical, the atmospheric and the nostalgic.


The British love of the garden, provides a fertile ground for artists who seek a less constrained space to set their human dramas. The exhibition will open with paintings, works on paper and books by artists and writers celebrating or reminiscing over the traditional cottage garden. Beatrix Potter’s meticulous and playful capturing of animal adventures in the vegetable garden can be seen alongside Cicely Mary Barker’s magical and yet educational ‘Flower Fairies’ watercolours.

A sense of the magical and enclosing nature of the garden can be seen works by Burne-Jones, Albert Moore and the Laing’s Thomas Armstrong painting Woman with Lilies (1876). Charles Robinson’s images for ‘The Secret Garden’ and Walter Crane’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant’ wind an enchanted thread around the reader. Simeon Solomon’s Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Myteline (1864), on loan from Tate is a particular highlight of this group.

The dramatic and painterly possibilities of light and shade in the garden have driven artists to create extraordinary and delicate works. Dod Procter’s The Orchard (1934), also on loan from Tate, sits alongside the Laing’s In the Spring Time by Harold Knight (1908-9) as dappled sunshine emanates from the canvases and draws us in to idyllic summer days. In contrast the magic created by twilight in these shadowy spaces can be seen in the Laing’s The Widow’s Acre (c.1900) by William Stott and Thomas Gotch’s Study for The Birthday Party where lanterns bob above softly drawn figures (on loan from Falmouth Art Gallery). The spectacular Water-Lilies, Setting Sun (c.1907) by Claude Monet, on loan from the National Gallery brings together light, shade and nature in an iconic example of Impressionist use of gardens in paintings.

The Enchanted Garden will be accompanied by a full programme of events and talks, including watercolour painting, flower arranging and pressing, ceramic classes making bird feeders and herb planters and lectures from art historians including the Director of Charleston and garden design experts. To be confirmed is the Head Gardener at Sissinghurst.

The Enchanted Garden is curated by the Laing Art Gallery with generous support from the John Ellerman Foundation. Also supported by the Friends of the Laing Art Gallery, the Finnis Scott Foundation and the Golsoncott Foundation.

What's involved?

The Laing Art Gallery are looking to recruit a dedicated team of volunteers to:

  • Offer visitors a welcome to the gallery with a warm and simple greeting or a small introductory explanation should they wish. 
  • You may be asked questions, many of which you will be able to answer through training and crib sheets. There may be questions that you need assistance with and this will be supported through the Laing team. Being conversational with the visitors is key to this role.
  • You may like to choose 2 favourite pictures to be able to talk to visitors about (background information will be provided)
  • Volunteer Invigilators will be required to patrol and view gallery C with an eye to ensuring visitors do not become too close to the art works and do not touch the art works. You will be required to notify Laing staff if breaches occur.
  • Move around the room to ensure all areas are equally covered
  • Hours, either
    • Full day 11am to 5pm with ½ hour lunch break
    • ½ day of 11am to 2pm and 2pm to 5pm
    • Sunday from 2pm to 5pm
  • We would love to build a dedicated team of volunteers to be able to commit to at least one 3.5 hour morning or afternoon session per week



Why get involved?


We want our visitors to really enjoy their time with us and if you volunteer with us we’ll furnish you with as much information as we can about these two exhibitions so you can feel confident in conversations around them, but equally you do not have to be able to talk at length about the art works, all we really ask is for a friendly hello and welcome.

We are looking for a group of enthusiastic and committed volunteers over the period Saturday 16th June though to Sunday 21st October to invigilate and welcome visitors to both of the above exhibitions. This is an exciting opportunity for both knowledgeable and novice art lovers. Ideally we’d like to have 4 volunteers on site all day every day!

We welcome applicants for this role who are able to offer a consistent one or half day commitment and those who are able to offer pockets of full days throughout the duration of the exhibition.


How to get involved?

1. Log in or sign up to Volunteer for TWAM.

2. Accept this challenge.

3. Await a response from our team.

Ideal Skills

  • Working with Museum Collections
  • Public Speaking

Ideal Interests

  • Meeting new people
  • Fine Art
  • Contemporary Art
  • Working with the public

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Event Information

Great Exhibition of the North - Friday 22nd June, 2018

This once in a lifetime, must-see event is free and family friendly. Opening with the spectacular ‘Get North’ event on the 22nd June, it finishes in style with the world-famous Great North Run and the powerful ‘Creating the Future’ closing weekend on 8th and 9th September.