As part of Remember a Charity Week, we are celebrating some of the amazing, generous gifts in Wills which have been left to Birmingham Museums by supporters. Whether it’s helping us conserve the collection or educate and engage people of all ages, gifts in wills can have a significant impact on our charity.
If you have visited the Museum & Art Gallery, you will almost certainly have seen the display of 20th-century British studio ceramics, which were collected by Birmingham-born Stanley Sellers (1933-2013) who worked as an architect in the city for more than 30 years.
Stanley had a real passion for art. As a young man he visited St Ives in Cornwall where he met artists including Barbara Hepworth, with whom he became close friends, and Bernard Leach whose pottery first inspired him to collect studio ceramics.
Stanley supported Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery during his lifetime, volunteering as a Friend for several years, and when writing his Will he generously left his art collection for the people of his beloved city and beyond to enjoy.
His collection included a variety of artworks from paintings, watercolours and sculptures, to topographical engravings of Aston Hall, but over 100 pieces were 20th-century British studio ceramics. A large proportion of these works are included in the display in galleries 10 and 11, featuring ceramics made by 29 potters who worked in England and Wales.
Highlights include Bernard Leach’s rustic ‘Leaping Salmon’ vase, Austrian-born Lucie Rie’s brightly-coloured modernist bowls, and John Ward’s bold, geometric pots. There is vibrant colour in works by Jack Doherty and John Maltby and strong pattern from Reg Moon and Mary Rich. Midlands potters are featured, including a raku bowl by university lecturer and published author, David Jones.
And at the centre of the display is some of Stanley’s own work. On retiring, he took up pottery himself and was influenced by the many potters he collected.
By remembering Birmingham Museums Trust in his Will Stanley has helped to ensure we can continue to create great memories for the people of Birmingham and visitors to the region for generations to come.
If you would like to find hear more about the Stanley Sellers display, you could join a special tour highlighting some important acquisitions which came to us as gifts in Wills, or purchased using a legacy. These will take place on Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2017 .
To find out more about leaving a gift in your Will to support our work in the years to come, please visit our support us pages. If you would to leave an object for the city’s collection, please let us know your intentions so we can confirm we are the appropriate custodians with the resources to look after it.