Exhibitions in the Museum

Exciting new exhibitions from Richard Slee and Madeleine Waller at Bolton Museum.

At home with… Richard Slee and Madeleine Waller

This autumn we present exhibitions of new work by two acclaimed figures from the worlds of art and photography, Richard Slee and Madeleine Waller.  Running alongside the exhibitions will be a range of exciting events, many of which will be online, including film screenings, talks and workshops. 

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Richard Slee: Mantelpiece Observations

Saturday 12 September 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 in the Temporary Exhibitions gallery

Richard Slee Intro image 1

This exhibition presents new work by Richard Slee, one of Britain’s most important contemporary ceramic artists. The newly commissioned pieces have been inspired by Mass Observation’s Mantlepiece Reports of 1937. The reports, with their fascinating lists of objects, reveal much about the tastes, preferences and preoccupations of people living in 1930s Britain. Slee’s work also explores questions of personal and national identity, history and taste, through his surreal transformations of ordinary domestic objects.

Richard Slee Gallery image 1

Slee has also selected 18 photographs by Humphrey Spender to hang alongside his mantelpiece ceramics. Spender was the lead photographer on Mass Observation’s study of Bolton and Blackpool in the late 1930s, and the 900 images he took for the project are held in the collections of Bolton Museum. Slee’s selection highlights the surreal side of Spender’s northern photographs.

Richard Slee Block woolly cat



Madeleine Waller: Mantelpiece Stories

Saturday 12 September 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 in the Up Close gallery

Ganshyam family from Madeleine Waller exhibitionThis exhibition presents newly commissioned work by acclaimed photographer Madeleine Waller. The display comprises six portraits of Bolton residents together with still life images of their chosen mantelpiece objects.

Madeleine Waller - Jenneh

It also features a stunning film in which the participants talk about the meanings behind their cherished personal possessions. The stories they tell touch on loss, hope, achievement, family life, and the important role of objects in our lives.

Madeleine Waller- Carole



Published: 30th July 2020