March 21, 2017

Renowned, abstract printmaker-artist, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, will this week have 59 of her prints exhibited in the region that was a formative influence on her life and work.

From March 25 – May 4, The Burton at Bideford is proud to be exhibiting a range of original prints by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, covering a period from 1950 to 2003.

One of the original and multi-talented Crypt Group and Penwith Society of Arts*, Barns-Graham was born in St. Andrews, Fife in 1912, but moved to Cornwall in 1940 to join the group of modernist artists working at Carbis Bay near St. Ives.

This exhibition, which is curated by Ann Gunn of St Andrews University and is titled “A Different Way of Working: The Prints of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham”, is an amalgamation of creative printmaking techniques Barns-Graham experimented with, such as offset drawing, lino-cutting, etching, lithography and screen-printing.

Although Barns-Graham produced a sizeable body of paintings and drawings in her sixty-seven year career (she died in January 2004 aged 91), this exhibition will chart her journey as a printmaker. She worked with some of the UK’s most renowned printers, including Kip Gresham and Stanley Jones (Curwen Press), and an extraordinary collaboration with Carol Robertson of Graal Press (Roslin, Midlothian), that she started in 1998 – aged 86 – from which she produced 65 exceptional prints, many of which will be on display at the Burton.

The exhibition itself will, unusually, take up both Gallery spaces at the Burton, and include 22 additional prints that have not previously been displayed in this exhibition.

As Barns-Graham was one of the few of her St. Ives peers to become fully involved with printmaking, it was important to the Burton’s Collections and Exhibitions Manager, Warren Collum, that the exhibition told the story of her evolving work. He said: “As well as the stunning, innovative prints and sketches in the exhibition, we’ll have many of Wilhelmina’s tools and studio materials to really give visitors an insight into how she produced her work. We’re very much looking forward to having Wilhelmina’s experimental work with us until May.”

The Chairman of the Barns-Graham Trust, Geoffrey Bertram, will be opening and introducing the exhibition on Saturday March 25 at 2pm. He will also be doing a separate “talk and tour” event on May 6 at 2pm.

Everyone is welcome to come along to “A Different Way of Working” and experience the life and artistic journey of a woman who became a master of printmaking.

The Burton is open 10-4 Mon to Sat and 11-4 on Sundays.


Notes to editors

*The Crypt Group and Penwith Society of Arts were “splinter groups” from the main St. Ives school, and its members worked far more in the abstract style.


Warren Collum, Collections and Exhibitions Officer, is available for interviews.

Geoffrey Bertram, chairman of the Barns-Graham Trust, is available for interviews.

More info can be found on the Burton’s website:

More info about Barns-Graham’s work and legacy can be found here: