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Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery

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The Big Blueprint

The Big Blueprint project was an exciting and innovative project, which commissioned three new art works for the south facing side of the Big Screen, in central Plymouth.

Plymouth City Council's Arts Unit, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, The BBC, and the City Centre Company collaborated on the project to celebrate Plymouth's ambition for the Olympics and local Olympians, as well as the championing and enhancing our cultural offer and local heritage.

In addition to the contemporary works, three images were selected from the Museum and Archives Collection that celebrated the principles of the project, and highlighed the collections that are not on public display. The show casing of these three images was integral to the project and its legacy, to increase awareness and engagement with the Museum, Archives and Record Office.

The core aims of The Big Blueprint were:

  • Welcoming the world - drawing on the unique international history and heritage of Plymouth, working closely with the existing cultural offer of the Museum, Archives and Record Office.
  • Animate and humanise public space- with excellence and innovative creativity, which enhances the physical and aesthetic qualities of the site and its environment.
  • To ignite collaborations with the Live Site and the Big Screen, increasing the cultural offer and participation of the location as a focal point for exciting and innovative ideas, events and engagement.

By achieving these core aims, this three year programme was to:

  • Inspire excellence and innovation in the arts
  • Create an open arena for engagement, participation and friendship
  • Promote respect for diverse cultures, opinions and for oneself

Find out more about the images that were on display.

'Floating' by Lee-Anne Hampson

'Floating', by Lee-Anne Hampson

The final image in the series is 'Floating', by Lee-Anne Hampson.

The artist says: "The image was inspired by a trip to Papua New Guinea, where I discovered there were clans who believed that when people died their soul would turn into a fish and swim back to their ancestor. The painting explores the peaceful qualities of floating. The single body in the piece has no other distraction; she is still and caught in a moment of contemplation.

The location of the Big Screen is excellent as it reminds both visitors and residents of our strong connection to the sea. I wanted to encourage people to think about the freedom of water and their relationship to it. People's lives are busy, but I hope this picture will prompt people to stop and think amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre."

For more information about the artist visit her website at Lee-Anne Hampson website.

'Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon in Plymouth Sound’ by Jules Girardet (1856 to 1938)

'Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon in Plymouth Sound’, August 1815

The fifth image in the series is 'Napoleon on HMS Bellerophon in Plymouth Sound', August 1815 by Jules Girardet (1856 to 1938) depicts an incredible scene captured by the artist in a stunning oil painting bought by the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in 1909.

In 1815, thousands of land-lubbers flocked to gawp at the just-defeated seadog who had surrendered to the HMS Bellerophon, (known to its crew as the Billy Ruffian) anchored in the Sound.

With Napoleon on board the ship was kept isolated from the throngs of curious sightseers by two guard ships anchored close at hand. On 4 August, Lord Keith ordered Bellerophon to go to sea and await the arrival of HMS Northumberland which had been designated to take Napoleon into exile on St Helena.

Although the Bellerophon was kept isolated while off Plymouth's coast, Napoleon would parade on deck at six pm each evening, to the delight of the flocks of people crammed into small boats trying to catch a glimpse of the fallen military mastermind.

'Argyle Man' by Steve Clement-Large

Argyle man

The fourth image in the series is Steve Clement-Large's 'Argyle Man' which was chosen by city retailers from four pieces of art shortlisted.

In his submission the artist says: "Argyle, with its chequered recent history on and off the pitch, can be seen as a metaphor for the city. Major developments are mixed with setbacks, but support for Argyle continues regardless of their fortunes."

The painting is one in a series combining tribal masks with contemporary clothing - in this case an Argyle club shirt. The artist says he hopes it will "make people smile"

Self portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Sir Joshua Reynolds - Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery (copyright)

The third image in the series is a self portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds. A local man, Joshua Reynolds was born in the town of Plympton (now a suburb of the city of Plymouth), on 16 July 1723. He was the youngest of seven sons born to the Reverend Samuel Reynolds, a local Grammar School master, and his wife Theophilia. For more information about this great artist visit the Sir Joshua Reynolds website or read our Museum’s Young Explainers to breathe life into 18th Century celebrities press release.

Image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery (copyright).

The image was selected by the Young Explainers, a group of University of Plymouth students from BA Hons Art History and BA Hons Fine Art and Art History who work with the Learning Team at the City Museum and Art Gallery.

Concrete names, Pete F Davies

The second image in the series is by local photographer, Pete F Davies. Pete moved to Plymouth in 2004, and in his words: "I also work from my own 'doorstep', as I believe the truest and most revealing work comes from having a relationship with our immediate surroundings, as when the connection with the person or the place is made, then one can delve deeper beyond the surface. Through this process of revealing, the camera is able to capture the essence, an unguarded moment that shows the true sense of identity."

The artist has been commissioned to photograph names that exist and personalise our historic environment. Examples of 'living history' can be found in Smeatons Tower and Elizabethan House, to name a few.

The works shall be showcased at the City Museum and Art Gallery, as part of the on going Big Blueprint project.

"All of the photographs that make up this single piece of work were taken in Plymouth at various locations between April 2008 and February 2009. Writing our own name is one of the first things we are taught to write as a child, to make the link between our given name and the individual. This stays with us throughout our adult life and writing our name into wet cement may seem like an act of vandalism, but to others it can be a tempting and romantic act of subversive nature."

'Clubbing in the Rain' by Beryl Cook

Clubbing in the Rain by Beryl Cook

The first image in the series is 'Clubbing in the Rain' by Beryl Cook, which was very well received.

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