Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Carved entrance sign for art gallery. Location: Howard Gallery, 23 Chapel Walk, S1 (A-Z p.121 2G) Description: A deeply carved relief is set in a small portico above a small retail outlet on Chapel Walk and often goes unnoticed on this very busy, narrow thoroughfare. The relief used to act as the street sign to the art gallery that was housed above, and the name; 'HOWARD GALLERY' appears as a raised relief across a ribboned banner supported by two groups of trees, in a depiction of a wooded copse. To the left there is a group of Lemon trees, bearing fruits, and to the right are Oak trees with acorns. These are carved in high relief and display an impressive skill, showing great detail in the depiction of all aspects including an abundance of leaves which appear to be tumbling over one another. Commission: The Chapel Walk shops housed a high class grocery establishment; 'The Provisions Stores' and, with the Gallery, was the venture of a Mr A.H.Holland who both designed and financed the building, and ran the shop. His son Alwyn Holland was an artist and architect.  The former Gallery comprised of two gallery spaces, each sixty feet in length, with light from above supplied by a lantern roof and was situated above a parade of eight single shops built in the 'English Renaissance Style. The Gallery was named after the Duke of Norfolk (family name Howard), a local dignitary and benefactor and the depiction of this wooded scene is possibly a reference to the local parkland that he had created in a style fashionable during the Victorian period. In 1848 this became one of the first parks in Britain to be opened free to the general public as the Duke became concerned at the level of poverty and over population of the area. It was donated by the Howard family to the people of Sheffield in 1909 and remains today as a public space, known as Norfolk Park. Inscription: "HOWARD GALLERY" Comment: The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent from the 12th April 1898, describes the buildings in this part of Chapel Walk as a development from 'dwarfed and old world shops' to a 'row of handsome and airy shops which are worthy of their Fargate neighbours' . The opening exhibition was reported in the local press in some detail and showed paintings from both the 'New' and 'Old English Schools' as well as from the 'Modern Dutch School'; the 'Hague School' as it is now known. It included the work of English artists; George Morland, John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, David Cox and George Clausen and among the Hague artists were Anton Mauve, Jozef Israelis and Maris. The reputations of all of these artists have withstood the test of time and even today a gathering of this kind would be impressive. The gallery also hosted 'The Sheffield Society of Artists' 24th Annual Exhibition in 1898 and was occasionally used for recitals of chamber music. References:  Mackerness, Eric. 'Civic Art in Sheffield' 1985.  Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 12th April 1898.
© Sheffield Hallam University
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Public sculpture -- England -- Sheffield
Relief (Sculpture), English
Public art -- England -- Sheffield