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Making a Mark: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Royal Collection

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, West Midlands, B15 2TT
Rubens' drawing 'Silenus and Aegle'. Expressive figures are sketched across the page, drawn in overlapping lines.


Exquisite and intriguing 16th- and 17th-century drawings by Dutch and Flemish artists, including Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Dyck, feature in 'Making a Mark', the Barber's first physical exhibition for more than a year.

Lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection's extensive holdings in the Print Room at Windsor Castle, this is the first time in 25 years that so many of these drawings have been shown together.

This exhibition – which also includes four exceptional drawings from the Barber's own extensive collection of works on paper – examines the functions and purposes of drawing, and its importance to the artist's profession. It discusses the techniques and materials used, and the varied ways artists found inspiration for drawings – whether from observation or memory, or somewhere between the two, which enabled artists to blur the distinctions between real life and imagination. It also considers how artists – famous and lesser known – made a living from drawing, and how the changing status of drawings, as both studies and finished artworks, meant patrons and an expanding collectors' market played a significant role in an artist's way of working and career success.

'Making a Mark' is the fourth exhibition in an annual partnership between Royal Collection Trust and the Barber Institute. It has been curated entirely in lockdown by this year's cohort of ten University of Birmingham Art History and Curating MA students.

Image: Peter Paul Rubens, 'Recto: Silenus and Aegle with other studies. Verso: Figure studies' (c. 1612-15). Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2021.

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Map & Directions

Public Transport Directions

The Barber is just three miles from the centre of Birmingham – we encourage our visitors to use public transport, walk, or cycle where possible.

Train: University Station is across campus – turn left on exiting the station and go straight ahead, following signs. The gallery is on your left when you arrive at the East Gate.

Cross-City Line trains leave New Street station regularly (direction Longbridge/Redditch) and take approximately 10 minutes to travel the two stops.

Bus: there are frequent buses from the city centre to the bottom of nearby Edgbaston Park Road (1A, 61, 63, X20, X21 and X22). Other services from the city and region call at stops surrounding the University campus.

Cycle: there is a cycle rack to the right of the main entrance of the Barber.

Tel: 0121 414 7333

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Opening Times

11 June 2021 - 26 Sept 2021
Tuesday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00

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