Our Sixty Second Interview with Munnings Art Museum Director – Jenny Hand
Jenny Hand left the Royal Pavilion in Brighton to take on the role of Director at the Munnings Art Museum, based in the artist Alfred Munnings's former home at Castle House in Dedham, on the Essex Suffolk border.
While the Museum prepares for a short closure over the winter months it promises to be an extremely busy period as Jenny and Curator, Marcia Whiting, will be revising two galleries for a brand new exhibition next year.
The Exhibition, ‘Munnings and the River’, will focus on Alfred Munnings love of English landscape and in particular the river Stour which runs through the Dedham Vale and was a source inspiration for another great British artist, John Constable.
What’s the best thing about your job Jenny?
Apart from living every day surrounded by some of the most beautiful paintings in C20th British art? – the fact that it is the artist’s home and that it feels like home, and when we are not open to the public I can walk about in slippers.
Worst moment of your day?
Discovering all the biscuits have gone – again – my band of 75 wonderful volunteers is an army that marches on its stomach.
Favourite painting/object to take home?
Aaahhh – almost impossible to answer! I have new favourites every day. However, I am currently obsessed with Munnings early ‘black and white’ works, mostly illustrations based on Victorian literature like Lorna Doone. Done early in his career, they show a boyish imagination mixed with a competence beyond his years.
Most exciting discovery?
A watercolour study with colour notes, simply titled ‘Studies of Horses’ but in fact a preparatory piece for Munnings first large canvas ‘A Suffolk Horse Fair, Lavenham’.
Favourite public building (anywhere)?
Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, pure fantasy. I used to work there.
Most over-used expression at work?
Who’s eaten all the biscuits…?
What has surprised you most about your current role?
As the role requires not only looking after an art collection, but also a listed building and 40 acre estate, I have been surprised by the breadth of knowledge that I have gained in such a short time. As a museum professional I never thought I would learn about sheep shearing or tree surgery!
Learn more about Munnings Art Museum at www.munningsmuseum.org.uk
Images – A Suffolk Horse Fair, Lavenham, Alfred Munnings
(copyright the Estate of Alfred Munnings)
Lorna Doone, Alfred Munnings (copyright the Estate of Alfred Munnings)