The Spring Collection

Published: 3 March 2021

This month we have collected together some of our pieces with spring themes. We have artworks from the early 20th century and a piece from our Ernest Gimson exhibition. 

Otto Murray Dixon, In the quiet of Springtime, grey and white on board, 1913.

View of a nesting duck.

Otto Murray Dixon was born in 1885 and raised in Leicestershire. He studied at the Leicester School of Art and became a competent naturalist and bird artist, also studying under Archibald Thorburn. His artworks were featured in various publications of the time, including The Field. He had a short life, dying in WWI. He joined the United Arts Corps at the outbreak of war in 1914 and transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders in 1915. He was wounded in action on Vimy Ridge, France, April 9th 1917 and died the next day.

Garden in Spring by Charles Isaac Ginner, oil on canvas, 1940.

A view through bare trees with grass below and crocuses around their bases. The surface of the painting has been handled with small impasto brush strokes.

Charles Ginner was born of English parents. He studied in Paris, first architecture, then painting. In 1909 he visited Buenos Aires and was in London from 1910. He was closely associated with Spencer Gore and Gilman in the Camden Town Group. He became an ARA (Associate of the Royal Academy) in 1942. He was an Official Artist in both World Wars. The TATE have a very detailed biography of him on their website.

Early Spring, Gloucestershire, by Robert Sargent Austin, etching, 1922.

This etching is by Robert Sargent Austin (1895-1973) who was born in Leicester and went to the Lansdowne Road School, Aylestone. Aged 7, he went to Friday evening lectures at the Leicester Art School (Mr B. J. Fletcher, principal, took an interest in him) and at 8, he won a scholarship to the school for 3 evenings a week. He worked in trade learning lithography, printing and bookbinding. He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1914. He went on to become Professor of Engraving at the Royal College of Art and also a full Royal Academician in 1949. There is a portrait of the artist in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.


Springback chair by David Colewell.

This chair was commissioned by the Friends of Leicester and Leicestershire Museums in 2008 and exhibited in our major Ernest Gimson exhibition that ran from November 2008 until March 2009. The chair is shaped entirely through steam bending, from just four pieces of fast grown ash, joined by a light stainless steel spider which completes the triangulated structure. Two pieces form the back rest and legs, with two narrow metal rods joining at the top of the back. David Colewell was born in 1944 and is a furniture designed who is based in Wales. His furniture has won many awards and appears in permanent and private collections across Europe including the V&A Museum and the Vitra Design Museum in Germany.