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Disruption, Devotion and Distributism

Sat 19 October 2019 - Sun 19 April 2020

Brazen, political and provocative works take centre stage for this exhibition at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft. The pieces in Disruption, Devotion + Distributism are drawn from a major acquisition of over 400 St Dominic’s Press pamphlets and posters, acquired through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2017. The private press was set up by printer Hilary Pepler and published a wide range of material including books and pamphlets for The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic and other artists and thinkers sharing their philosophy around craftsmanship and life. These special items are now displayed in public for the first time in a show that explores the values and beliefs of the extraordinary group of craftspeople and artists living in Ditchling at the turn of the 20th Century.

Over 100 outstanding objects have been brought together for the exhibition. Printed material is presented alongside items from the museum’s permanent collection to offer a compelling perspective on the ideas and philosophy which drove the artists’ move to Ditchling. The exhibition includesnever-before-seen pieces by Eric Gill, Ethel Mairet and Valentine KilBride.

Disruption, Devotion + Distributism will take the visitor on a tour of the underlying ideas and beliefs which led artists like Edward Johnston, Hilary Pepler and Eric Gill to Ditchling, and their engagement with and influence on wider debates taking place nationally and internationally in the early 20th century.

The exhibition pulls at the Guild’s core principles – a resistance to industrialisation and city-living, their devout Catholicism and a commitment to Distributism, a political movement that championed individual land ownership in rural communities.

Feeling inspired? The season is packed full of events and workshops to accompany the exhibition. Whether you’re 1 or 101 there is plenty on offer at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft.

Image: Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic safe door, painted by David Jones. Image: Tessa Hallmann

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