Posted by: outsiderart1 | June 24, 2012

Madge Gill Retrospective, London

The Madge Gill Retrospective, London

I went along to the opening of the Madge Gill exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery, London on Thursday 14th June. There was a wonderful mix of people present and Roger Cardinal gave a fascinating speech about the life of Madge Gill. The works on the walls have rarely been seen, so this is a great opportunity to see some of the hidden sides of work that Madge Gill produced; including some exceptionally bright colourful pieces full of bold shapes and patterns. These differ greatly to the work often seen exhibited by Madge Gill in black and white featuring ‘doodle-like’ marks and faces of ladies. Some of the work was hung quite high which was a shame as the detail in them was lost to the audience and with Gill’s work, this is quite key.

This year there will be three ten-week exhibitions showcasing Madge Gill’s work which is currently stored in the Newham’s archives who have generously supported these exhibitions. Individual works have been occasionally exhibited across the world in exhibitions devoted to Outsider Art, but this is the first time a comprehensive retrospective, showing many unseen works, has been put together. In the second show later in the year some of the large canvases will be shown which will be magnificent and a must see!

Artist, writer and curator Deanna Petherbridge, and local historian/Whitechapel Gallery archivist Gary Haines have contributed to the research for this exhibition and will host talks and walks for those interested in finding out more about this remarkable icon of East London. There is a small booklet available too for £3 which gives a detailed overview of Madge Gill and her life.

Dates of the exhibition: Friday, June 15, 2012 to Thursday, August 23, 2012.

Opening Hours: Wed – Sun, from 9am – 5pm.

Address: The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ.

For more information visit:



  1. Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary

    Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ

    5 October 2013 – 26 January 2014

    With no training and no aspirations to fame, Madge Gill produced thousands of ink drawings during her lifetime. Her work remains an enigma: is it true she was inspired by an ethereal spirit guide? Was she genuinely in touch with ‘the beyond’, or was art-making a form of self therapy?

    Orleans House Gallery invites you to delve into the world of Madge Gill (1882 – 1961) in this major retrospective exhibition supported by the Wellcome Trust. Featuring over 100 original artworks, and contextual photographs and documents, this exhibition is the first of its kind. Madge Gill was championed and collected by Jean Dubuffet, who coined the term ‘art brut’ (raw art), the precursor to the term ‘Outsider Art’. Gill is considered the most important, influential and recognised British woman ‘outsider artist.’ This project explores Gill’s work, history and psychic / mediumistic context in-depth, in order to question the use of such terms, whilst celebrating the benefits of creativity for wellbeing.

    Working mainly on paper, card and textiles, Gill used pen to create maze-like surfaces with a glittering, almost hallucinatory quality that often reveal a female face. Ranging from postcard size to over 10 metres long, her work immerses the eye in a dark world of mystery, beauty and obsession. Her work has been included in previous Orleans House Gallery Outsider and Visionary art exhibitions, the Tate Gallery, and more recently at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Museum of Everything and Nunnery Gallery.

    The focal point of the exhibition will be The Crucifixion of the Soul, which has not been on public display since 1979, and is Gill’s most important work. Over ten metres long, this immense calico is inscribed with Gill’s finely wrought doodle-like drawings and is testament to Gill’s commitment to creativity.

    The project has been generously funded by a People Award from the Wellcome Trust. Curators have worked with psychologists, medical historians, biographers, art historians and art psychotherapists to bring different approaches to Gill together within the exhibition and accompanying catalogue. Present day artists from the Art & Soul group, who celebrate mental and emotional wellbeing through the arts, are also represented in the project.

    Bringing together little-seen loans from the Newham Archive; the College of Psychic Studies in South Kensington; the Henry Boxer Gallery and other archival material and artworks from private collections, this exhibition is a must-see for all those interested in art, psychology, spiritualism, social history or all of the above.

    Orleans House Gallery, Riverside, Twickenham, TW1 3DJ

    Free admission

    Gallery open Tuesday-Saturday 1.00-4.30pm, Sunday 2.00-4.30pm

    Tel: 020 8831 6000



    For more information please visit:

    Members of the public should call the Council’s contact centre for more information by phoning 08456 122660.

    Journalists requiring more information should contact Mark Collins in Richmond Council’s press office on 020 8891 7160 or Orleans House Gallery’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections, Mark De Novellis on 020 8831 6000.

    Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary curated by Mark De Novellis in collaboration with Henry Boxer, Roger Cardinal Vivienne Roberts.

    The accompanying catalogue, Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary will be available from the gallery shop. The exhibition will also coincide with a new biography on Gill by Roger Cardinal, a book of Madge Gill’s mediumistic drawings on postcards by Henry Boxer and a roundtable event on November 16.

    The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust’s breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests.

    • Hi Mark, thank you for sending this through. Vivienne sent it to me earlier today, so I have just uploaded it.
      Very much looking forward to it!

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