An exciting opportunity to expand what Curwen could offer artists of all abilities is within reach at Great Thurlow in Suffolk. To continue to meet our mission and to allow much needed expansion, we have identified new premises.
These premises will support the Study Centre at this pivotal point in development, providing a building sufficiently large to allow for:
We do not seek to make a profit and income is spent each year on staff and tutors (75%), utilities, marketing and maintenance (15%) and materials (10%). The Study Centre aims to maintain reserves of around £35,000, and currently our turnover is around £135,000 per annum. Most of our income derives from taught courses (91%) with some extra funds from grants, donations and bursaries (5%).
Relocating to new premises will lead to moving from a peppercorn to a market rent. A second studio will enable increased an Open Access Studio facility for artists, available all weekdays and some evenings and weekends, we consider this an important part of making the studio more accessible and affordable. It will also free up days in the teaching studio, allowing expansion of the teaching course programme. The business plan is to create an Open Access Studio membership scheme, income from the second studio will pay the rent.
Whilst staying true to traditional techniques, The Study Centre continually innovates in reflecting emerging developments in contemporary printmaking, the Tutors bringing research from their own practices into the studio to pass on to students. The studio continues to operate best practice to minimise the impact on the environment of their work with inks and other chemicals, and to ensure that health and safety risks are managed for staff, artists and students.
To make services available to the widest audience, the Centre’s outreach programme takes portable presses and printmaking materials out into the wider community, to those unable to get to the studio. We consider a vital part of our role is to share our rich printmaking heritage with all aspects of the community and plan to expand this programme further once established in new studios.
The Curwen Archive is a visual medium for explaining and showing the heritage, tradition and development of artist printmaking, and as such it has a significant and pivotal role to play as part of this aim.
Curwen Print Study Centre is part of the Curwen history dating from 1863. Curwen owns an important print archive dating from the early 20th century to the present day. This archive is a unique collection of prints by leading 20th century artists. Part of the early archive is held by The Tate Gallery. The move to new premises will allow us to expand and improve the reach of the current work of the Curwen Print Study Centre by creating a Centre for Printmaking Excellence. This will include space to display our Print Archive and make it available to be viewed and studied by the public. The Curwen Print Study Centre will be a focus for printmaking within the UK and beyond, for artists to study, learn new skills, create and exhibit works.
The Archive includes prints by leading 20th century artists such as Henry Moore, Elisabeth Frink, Paula Rego, Patrick Heron and Prunella Clough. These prints have been donated to the Study Centre by the Curwen Studio, the Curwen Gallery and individual donors. There is also a selection of prints donated from the personal collection of Master Printmaker Stanley Jones. These are made up of prints given to Stanley by artists he has worked with, as well as prints from the collection he has built up himself over his years working with renowned artists such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. The Curwen Archive prints are supported by Curwen Studio documentation, correspondence between the studio and artists, memorabilia and letters, that combine to tell the story of fine art printmaking, as well as a documented history of the Curwen Studio from London to the Cambridgeshire countryside.
The Archive is alive with special and fascinating pieces, personal and individual insights into the process of creating an Artist’s Print. This wealth of treasures includes postcards from rare exhibition catalogues, diaries, hand drawn sketches, handwritten letters and personal notes from artists such as Edward Bawden, Elizabeth Blackadder, Henry Moore, Paula Rego, Mary Fedden, Patrick Heron, Bernard Cheese and David Kindersley, to name but a few. Project documents and correspondence give insight into the process of the creation of prints for Charles, Prince of Wales from his beautiful watercolour paintings. There are some truly unique and fascinating personal glimpses into how artists work, including one chain of communication between the Curwen Studio and the artist, concerning the colours to be used for a print which tells the Curwen Studio to match the exact shade of blue as the fabric on the enclosed men’s underwear!
Henry Moore OM CH FBA
A key part of the Study Centre’s mission is to preserve the skills and concept of the artist’s original print in all forms.
The Archive is an important part of our work in maintaining the traditions of fine art printmaking through academic and artist study. A huge amount of time has been invested into listing and documenting the archive, but it now needs further expert input and curation. It is envisaged that the gallery archive space will have a rolling programme of Archive Exhibitions, which will allow display of unique prints, many have previously not been exhibited for public viewing.
The current studio has no space to allow for visitors. The expiry of the Study Centre’s current lease in 2024 has opened up an exciting opportunity for expansion. The new premises will include a gallery space, and room to display and allow access to the Curwen Archive of prints and documents.
This additional space will accommodate specialist archival storage and display, as well as enabling opening the Curwen Archive for free viewing access as a historical artistic resource to printmakers, academics, students and the public. As well as exhibiting some of the archive prints, the gallery space will also be an affordable space to facilitate our members and artists at all levels to exhibit their work, bringing together and linking contemporary fine art printmakers and printmaking with its historical counterparts in the same space.
This new gallery and archive space will require fitting out with both a lighting and hanging system to allow exhibiting works, as well as specialist archive viewing plan chests for all supporting documentation and memorabilia.
Now the new premises for the Study Centre have been identified at Great Thurlow we need your help to fund fitting out of the archive space and gallery area to enable this historic resource to be preserved, displayed and made freely available for study and public viewing.
Paula Rego DBE RA
Edward Bawden CBE RA - Lithograph of Lino Print
Charles, Prince of Wales - Lithograph for Prince’s Trust
John Bellany RA
Please help us ensure we can secure the future of Fine Art Printmaking.
Contact Lorraine Chitson on email@example.com or telephone 01223 892380
See our How To Get Involved