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RA Recommends: 23rd - 30th April

by Eleanor Mills

John Bratby RA and Jean Cooke RA were British ‘kitchen sink’ painters, borne of 1950s realism, depicting everyday people and their ordinary realities. But Cooke and Bratby’s realism was imbued with their tempestuous, often traumatic, married life – Cooke portraying Bratby as ever more monstrous, and Bratby painting Cooke in ever more unflattering ways. Cooke unfortunately suffered more from the relationship, and Bratby became more famous for his work.


With strong works from Pembroke College’s collection, and key loans from the Royal Academy, this is one of the first exhibitions to place Cooke and Bratby side by side artistically and reappraise Cooke’s valuable painterly legacy. A must see.


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Pembroke Gallery Opening

by Claudia Zwar

In seventh week of this term, the Pembroke College JCR Gallery will open its doors to the public for the first time in its history. In doing so, it will join the coterie of Oxford’s ‘secret galleries’, most of them hidden within colleges, or down side alleys across the city.


The Pembroke JCR Art Collection is mostly the product of a series of happy accidents, and it had an unusual genesis. Its origins lie in an Italian prisoner-of-war camp, where a young British soldier, Anthony Emery, was held during World War Two. During his incarceration, Emery staged a parody of the 1938 ‘London International Surrealism Exhibition’ which, perhaps understandably, fell rather flat among his audience of fellow prisoners. But the bruised pride of the young soldier was impetus enough for him to establish, upon arriving at Pembroke in 1947, an undergraduate art collection; to correct what he believed was an ‘ignorance about the art of our time’...


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