Punch and Judy at Putney Wharf

Sculpture, Drawing and Painting

Alan Thornhill

Exhibited from 9 June - 27 August, 2012

A personal exploration of the creative process

Alan Thornhill (born 1921) attended Camberwell School of Art followed by Farnham Art School studying ceramics. In 1951 he set up 'Hawkley Pottery' in Toadsmoor Valley, Eastcombe near Stroud, where he made pottery for the next nine years. Thornhill’s pottery was selected by the Council of Industrial Design to be included in exhibitions of British craftsmanship overseas.

Thornhill taught ceramics, part time, at Stroud College and also Kingston School of Art in London. In 1960 he began to make sculpture using his pottery clay. It was this material, with which he was so familiar, that allowed him to develop his own method of building shapes without the use of an armature and with no preconceived image. Over many years Thornhill has developed this way of working intuitively, allowing unconscious influences and feelings to take shape in the clay.

Thornhill had to overcome inhibitions that that made him believe that he could not draw or sculpt. In discovering his method of working he was gradually freed from the idea of failure of expectation and thus enabled himself to express. In due course this process proved its value in helping others to discover their own creativity, apparent from the enthusiasm of his many former students and those who know him.

The exhibition brings together a diverse selection of Thornhill’s work, including pottery and painting as well as drawings and sculpture. Thornhill's work is represented in the Museum collections and this exhibition presents five large bronzes which the artist has donated to the Museum and the local community.

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