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Art Fund Award for Birmingham Library

Following the recent award of £11,750 to acquire works by Daniel Meadows and Homer Sykes, Birmingham Central Library has been awarded a further £6000 by The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, to purchase 12 prints Anna Fox, one of the UK’s leading photographers. Work of all three photographers was included in the Legacy section of the recent exhibtion Knight of the Camera: The Photographs of Sir Benjamin Stone (2007)

The works to be acquired come from the series Back to the Village (1999-2008). This is an ongoing photography project observing the uniquely English rituals that take place in the picturesque villages of Hampshire. Anna Fox says:

“I first came to see the Benjamin Stone Collection in the late 1990s when I was researching a lecture on the archive for the Royal College of Art. I knew about the collection as I had seen a few prints in an early edition of Creative Camera and a number of photographers had mentioned how much the work had influenced them in the late 70s. I was astounded by the volume of work in the archive and completely fascinated by the photographs of customs and fairs, which was a subject close to my heart having grown up in rural Hampshire. The Benjamin Stone photographs also amazed me because I realised how timeless they were - people dressing up could almost belong to any time. Although I find most of the photographs interesting my favourites have always been the Sherbourne Pageant, something in the subjects’ poses lends a sense of humour or irony to this image that is unforgettable.”

The Library has an immense archive of photographs by Stone which were gifted to Birmingham Free Libraries after his death in 1914. It now forms the cornerstone of the Library’s collection which was awarded Designated status in 2006 by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

The work acquired by these three key photographers will be the subject of an exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in 2010.

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