Art collection to celebrate centenary of Mexborough artist

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Celebrating the centenary of Mexborough born artist Edgar Holloway (1914-2008), ‘The Art of a Lifetime’ will bring together over 100 works, including watercolours, drawings, etchings, and engravings from the artist’s estate and private collections.

The works on display will chart the development of Holloway’s work from his early years spent producing etchings of the countryside around Doncaster, which he sold from his father’s framing shop on Copley Road, to his later years when he was based in Ditchling Common in Sussex, living in a house designed by Eric Gill.

Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for Culture, said: “Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery hosts a wide variety of fantastic exhibitions all year round and it will be great to see this celebration of a renowned local artist.

“Throughout his working life Holloway was known for his etched portraits, in particular a series of self portraits which traced his changing appearance from youth through to old age. He also made portraits of some of the famous cultural figures of the 20th century, including Henry Moore, Virginia Woolfe, and T.S Eliot, and many of these powerful images are displayed in the exhibition.

It looks set to be a fantastic exhibition both for fans of the artist and for people who have not seen his work before.”

Although principally known as a printmaker, Holloway, who has works in the collection of the British Museum and National Portrait Gallery, also worked as a designer, and the exhibition includes examples of lettering, book jackets and maps made during the years when he was a member of the Guild of St. Joseph and St. Dominic.

The exhibition, which has been organised by Holloway’s widow Jennifer, coincides with the launch of her biography of the life of Edgar Holloway called ‘Against the Odds’, published by Sansom and Company.

This exhibition will run from 5 April to 14 June at Doncaster Museum & Art Gallery

Edgar Holloway was born in Mexborough, where his father worked in the mining industry.

In 1920 the family moved into central Doncaster, living in a council house on a new estate in Bentley. Edgar attended Bentley New Village Elementary School until the age of 12, when he was awarded a scholarship to Doncaster Grammar School.

He was to stay at the grammar school for only 2 years, leaving on account of his health, (he had the skin complaint psoriasis) but only on the condition that he attended Doncaster School of Art.

By this time Holloway’s father was running a framing shop and selling prints from a shop on Copley Road in Doncaster, and Edgar was often called on to help out. This, alongside ongoing problems with his health, meant that he only attended evening classes at the art school, and most of what he learnt was self taught from books.

Edgar’s first published drawing was in the Doncaster Chronicle in 1928. A drawing titled ‘Characters in a Library’ for which he was paid 10s 6d. Later he was to remark that ‘I thought I’d arrived as an artist when that cheque came. That was quite a sum in those days’.

The Holloway family left Doncaster in 1931 to be nearer London, so that Edgar was better positioned to pursue his artistic career, but they returned two years later, settling in Barnby Dun.

Although Edgar was to return to London almost immediately, he had not left Doncaster for good, returning to live in the town with his family for a period during the 1940s, at which time he was also an active member of the Doncaster Art Club, and had a studio in Regent’s Square in the town centre.

Holloway’s works are contained in the collections of among others The British Museum and National Portrait Gallery.