Tim Sainsbury


An exhibition of contemporary art in Southern England.
Organised by the South Western Arts Association and the Arts Council of Great Britain. One of seven exhibitions forming a major nationwide survey of contemporary art in the United Kingdom

During the summer months of 1971 people throughout Great Britain will have a series of opportunities to see examples of much of the best painting and sculpture being done by British artists today. In the south of England this exhibition, organised and financed by the Southern Arts Association and the South Western Arts Association in collaboration with the Arts Council of Great Britain, is showing painting and sculpture by thirty artists living in an area that is bounded by Lands End and Margate, Ventnor and Banbury (excluding the Greater London Area)

The course of development of painting and sculpture since the second world war has been considerably influenced by a number of artists living and working in the West Penwith area of Cornwall in the late 1940's and 1950's - the best known of whom were the painter Ben Nicholson and the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. A number of these artists who are still living there and producing works of considerable importance are included in this exhibition, as are others who have moved to different parts of the South of England.

Below are exhibits from this exhibition by Tim Sainsbury. 

Object on a Beach Size: H122cm x W122cm
Media: Oil on Board
No Title Size: H122cm X W122cm
Media: Oil and Mixed Media on Board
Continent of a Skull Size: H122cm x W122cm
Media: Oil and sand on Board

The Red Gallery

Review by Elizabeth Williams

Portsmouth City Museum
Discover how life at home has changed over the centuries in the 'Living in Portsmouth' Gallery which looks at life in the home with the reconstruction of a 17th century bedchamber, an 1871 dockyard worker's kitchen, a Victorian parlour, a 1930s kitchen and a 1950s living room. The story continues with 'Portsmouth at Play' on the beach, in the cinema, on the football field and dance floor.

There is also a fine and Decorative Art Gallery, which features a wide range of material from the 17th century to the present day; the Portsmouth Picture Gallery with its extensive and important collection of local paintings, prints and drawings, and the Temporary Exhibition Gallery where a regularly changing programme ensures that there is always something to see or do.

August’s object is a mixed media painting titled "Under the Outlet" c.1971-2 by Timothy Sainsbury (b.1935) featured in our interactive exhibition ‘Senses’. The painting uses many materials, including oil paint, polythene, wood and chicken wire.

The artist was born in 1935 in Monmouthshire but moved to southern England. In 1965 he was Artist in Residence at Sussex University. He exhibited work widely in south eastern England, including in Portsmouth and Southampton, he was Head of Art at Weston Park Comprehensive School in Southampton when he made this work. At that time his paintings and constructions showed natural forms, particularly fish and birds in circumstances of stress. The stress he saw was caused by humans, including the contamination of the creatures' environment by oil, chemicals and rubbish. In works of this period humans are shown symbolically by their damaging and polluting artefacts such as the chicken wire in this work.

'Under the Outlet' - Tim Sainsbury c.1971-2
Museum accession number 300/1981.

Under the Outlet

The Museum has the image of the painting on it's side. This is incorrect, the 'plug' is the 'top' of the painting with the 'elements' moving vertically downward towards the 'bird' (as shown here). This painting is severely cropped and is not a good example. 

The Man in the Blue Suit (No4)
The ‘Men’ in Blue Suits are wounded soldiers that have been permanently hospitalised. Many were 1st World War veterans, often in severe shock. Many used to visit Town on a Saturday to spend their pensions and frequently one would collapse in the street – lost in their personal hell and maybe re living a war that ended 60 years previously.

The Man in the Blue Suit No 4 Size: H70cm x W51cm
Media: Oil and enamel on board
Sacrificial Head No 1 Size: H122cm x W122cmMedia: Oil on Board. Exhibit at Portsmouth City Museum .

Sussex University

Sussex University UK 2005 - "Another hidden treasure has been found in the Lancaster House storeroom" - Rita Pickett, Lancs House Porter, found an oil painting by Timothy Sainsbury which had been lost since 1976".

Karen Watson from the Special Collections Department at the University of Sussex Library has kindly provided sizes and an image of the painting. In return Tim wrote the following which gives his view of current styles and inspirations (The Library is responsible for the artworks and they recently completed an RSLP funded project to re-house and re-catalogue the collection):

Tim writes - The painting in question dates from late 1963 or '64 and was probably included in the one man exhibition held at the university about that time. I don't think the painting has a title, so "untitled" is as good as any. There were about 30 of these abstract paintings produced around that time, though I continued the theme of suns & moons into works using metal collage. During this period I was using a lot of mixed media and I think the blue background to the painting is probably a shoe polish (produced by "Tuxan"). I also used bitumen based paint which proved to be very unstable - so goodness knows what happened to those particular paintings - I seem to recall that the Students Union had one of the metal and bitumen pieces. From about 1966 the abstract work gradually became more figurative, though still using the metal collage technique. Work became based on Landscape, Animal Skulls, Helmeted Heads, etc. Nowadays Landscape has become the main theme, often with large foreground figures. Drawing from my Rural South Wales background, chapel themes and people at work frequently occur. All my output these days is from memory and imagination. Paintings tend to be smaller due to restrictions of storage and studio space. I also no longer use unstable medias, except in small 'sketchbook' ideas.

Tim Sainsbury.Aug2005

Integer ac vehicula eros, sed dictum sapien. Donec dignissim porttitor ante, sit amet placerat dui. Donec mollis vel arcu et efficitur.

Southampton University
"The Wire" by Tim Sainsbury (est 1980)
It is not known how this painting arrived at the University - "far too long ago", but we do know it forms part of a series, all having a similar format.
Image of painting being acquired.

Bristol - "Object on a Beach" - Private Collection

Object on a Beach Size: H122cm x W122cm
Media: Oil on Board

The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF)

Tim Sainsbury gave permission to the PCF to reproduce three artworks for publication in two of the PCF 'Hampshire' catalogues published in April 2007.The works in question are 'The Wire' currently held within Southampton University, the 'Sacrificial Head', and 'Under the Outlet' which are both currently held by Portsmouth Museums and Records Service. Further details can be found on the Museums page.
The PCF is "a a registered charity publishing a national series of illustrated catalogues of all oil paintings in public ownership in the UK. The rationale behind the project is that the vast majority of the UK’s publicly owned paintings are inaccessible to the public. The Oil Paintings in Public Ownership series comprises a set of uniform county volumes. In most cases, a volume brings together from a county all the oil, acrylic and Tempa paintings in museum collections together with paintings held in civic buildings such as town halls, libraries, universities, police stations and fire stations. In a few cases, a large museum collection fills a whole volume or a volume is dedicated to the collections of a city within the county. The series is starting with England but will progress to Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

In Southampton City Art Gallery there is a collection of national importance, with over half of the volume dedicated to it. This reflects the distinction of a founding advisor, Kenneth Clark, and of his visionary successors. Its collection of 1970’s and 1980’s painting (and sculpture) is ‘unequalled in Britain outside the Tate Modern’ according to Mark Fisher, author of “Britain’ Best Museums and Galleries” (Penguin, 2004).

In the Isle of Wight, Guy Eades is Art Director for the Healing Arts programme that uses paintings (and art generally) to assist patient recuperation at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport. Not unique but both the City Art Gallery and the Healing Arts programme alone should persuade people of the extraordinary worth of these parts of our National Collection" - The PCF 2007.
If you require further information go to their website www.thepcf.org.uk