Expert offers art enthusiasts unique insight into work of John Tunnard

Painting by Modernist painter John Tunnard
Painting by Modernist painter John Tunnard
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North East art enthusiasts will be offered a unique insight into the work of Modernist designer and painter John Tunnard next week.

Prof Brian Whitton, a former Durham University academic, will discuss Tunnard’s work during a visit to the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery on Thursday, September 24.

Prof Whitton was professor of biological and biomedical sciences at the university, interests which mirror those of Tunnard, who collected specimens for the natural history section of the British Museum.

As well as being a collector of Tunnard’s work, Prof Whitton has published a number of books and catalogues of his paintings.

He will follow the talk by giving a guided tour of Nature, Politics and Science – a major exhibition of Tunnard’s art on display at the gallery until Sunday, 4 October.

The exhibition, which Prof Whitton curated, looks at the historical and cultural factors that shaped Tunnard’s art.

It brings together about 100 works taken from both public and private collections and covers the entirety of his career.

It reintroduces Tunnard to the public and also looks in more depth at how his work was influenced by the war years but at the same time also reflected nature.

As well as Tunnard’s own paintings, the exhibition features works by his father, John Charles Samuel, and his wife, Mary May, who was known as Bob. It also includes book and magazine covers, original exhibition catalogues and examples of Tunnard’s textile designs.

Lucy Jenkins, the DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery’s exhibitions curator, said: “Prof Whitton is the leading writer on Tunnard’s work.

“His wider interests also reflect those of Tunnard so he’s well placed to offer a unique insight into Tunnard’s work.

“I’m sure visitors will find what he has to say fascinating and enlightening.”