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You are here: Home Page > Council and Democracy > Council News > Archived News > March 2016 > Two New Exhibitions

Two New Exhibitions

 

Two Exciting New Exhibitions Are Coming to The Higgins Bedford - 23rd April – 2nd October 2016

 

Bedford’s War Machines

 

This new exhibition at The Higgins Bedford takes a close-up look at the Simplex railway locomotives made in Bedford and explores  the town’s home-front contribution to the Great War. 2016 marks the centenary year in which Simplex petrol locomotives, which were integral to the allied effort on the Western Front, began to be made in Bedford.

823 Simplex Motor Rail petrol locomotives were exported to the Front from Bedford. The engines were part of a new infrastructure for getting troops, supplies and ammunition to the front lines. Simplex petrol engines were safer than steam engines, which could be targeted by the enemy and were too heavy for the mud-ridden trenches.

Other engineering firms in Bedford, including W. H. Allen’s, were also involved in manufacturing war machinery and ammunition for the Front. In 1916, W.H. Allen’s expanded, building a new factory at Biddenham, employing a predominantly female workforce and producing Le Rhone Rotary aircraft engines. The men and women making these machines in Bedford had an essential role in the eventual allied victory in the First World War. 

The exhibition, in partnership with Leighton Buzzard Railway, includes a rare surviving Simplex locomotive and wagon, which will be installed in The Higgins Bedford courtyard. 

 

Beautiful Bodies

 

Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Stanley Spencer and Dora Carrington are all included in this exhibition: a celebration of the differing approaches to drawing the human figure taken by British artists. The exhibition is drawn exclusively from Bedford’s internationally renowned collection.

The angular works of Wyndham Lewis and the gritty realism of Lucien Freud and Walter Sickert are in stark contrast to Dora Carrington’s tender drawings of her brothers. It is the first time Carrington’s drawings of Noel and Teddy have been on display at The Higgins Bedford. The works, Noel Carrington c. 1912 and Teddy Carrington c.1915 were acquired by the art gallery in 2012 from the artist’s family. Carrington would often persuade her brothers to sit for her on visits home to Bedford from the Slade School of Art and the two drawings are remarkable examples of her talent for figure drawing.

Including many of the 20th century’s most influential artists, this exhibition celebrates the inspiration these artists have drawn from the human figure.

 

The exhibitions are free to visit.

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 5pm

Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays 2 – 5pm

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