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New Acquisitions

A collection of the brilliant new acquisitions The Harris have acquired during closure for The Harris Your Place project. Central to the project's vision is to represent a more diverse range of communities and narratives through portraits, textiles, decorative art, and historical artefacts curated to explore themes of identity and belonging. The Harris is dedicated to expanding its collections in order to tell more diverse stories and foster discussions about people's individual senses of identity as well as their identity in relation to others. The Harris is keen for all of visitors to encounter something that speaks to them and their lived experience.

Harris Your Place is a £16 million project set to restore and reimagine the Harris for 21st-century audiences as a cultural learning space. The aim of this project is to protect the building and the architecture for future generations whilst enhancing accessibility options and positioning the Harris as a community hub for Preston and Lancashire.

The capital project is more than simply preserving this much-loved building; Harris wants to ensure that it remains a vibrant heart of the community. A place where people want to spend their time.

Cost: free

This collection is free to visit

Exploring New Acquisitions

Image of four people sat on a sofa in a front room.

Shalini, Rudi, Sunil, Léo, and Stanley

Date: 1974 / 2021

Artist: Sunil Gupta

Archival pigment print, 26.7 x 40 cm. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund at Frieze, 2021/22

Shalini, Rudi, Sunil, Léo, and Stanley, was taken in an apartment in Montreal that he shared with his sister and partner, both of whom feature in the image.

The two photographs show the people he was closest to: his biological family on the one hand and his “chosen family” of friends and lovers he made through the gay liberation movement in Montreal at the time.

These photographs form part of a new collection of works that explore the many facets of family life, chosen because of your feedback through the Harris Your Place project.

Image of three people stood outdoors.

Sunil and His Parents (Ram & Penny)

Date: 1974 / 2021

Artist: Sunil Gupta

Archival pigment print, 35.6 x 53.3 cm. Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund at Frieze, 2021/22

Sunil Gupta works as a photographer, writer and curator, seeking to promote a greater understanding of questions regarding representation, sexuality, access and cultural difference. His career, which spans four decades, has been either community-based, as he photographed other members of the queer community, or introspective, as he documented his medical journey after being diagnosed as HIV+.

Gupta uses his own lived experiences of race, migration and queer identity as a point of departure for photographic projects. Sunil and His Parents (Ram & Penny) is a portrait of the artist with his mother and father. His parents hold each other while he stands slightly apart.

An artwork created from acrylic and lacquer on a black board.

Baa’s Gold (Family Portrait)

Date: 2021

Artist: Hetain Patel

Acrylic and lacquer on board, 89 x 125 cm. Credit: Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund at Frieze, 2021/22

Hetain Patel aims to challenge assumptions about how we look and where we come from. As a child and teenager, he was greatly inspired by comic book heroes. This painting comes from a body of work that grew out of a robbery that his grandmother (called Baa, which means ‘mother’ in Gujarati) suffered in 2015, during which her gold jewellery was forced from her wrists. Patel’s deeply personal paintings ‘seek to retrieve Baa’s gold’, which for the artist is a metaphor for everything that has been taken from his family via the systematic racism experienced in the UK since his birth and before.

This painting forms part of a new collection of works that explore the many facets of family life, chosen because of your feedback through the Harris Your Place project.

Woven Himroo textiles, one dark background with silver woven pattern.

Himroo Textile

Artist: Loom Katha

One of two woven Himroo textiles, created on a dark background with silver woven pattern. This textile was woven in India using restored Himroo textile weaving looms.

Made by Loom Katha, a weaving collective ran by Arushi Chowdhury Khana.

Image of a woven textile, light background with pink woven pattern

Himroo Textile

Artist: Loom Katha

One of two woven Himroo textiles, created on a light background with pink woven pattern. This textile was woven in India using restored Himroo textile weaving looms.

Made by Loom Katha, a weaving collective ran by Arushi Chowdhury Khana.

Image of a decorative tea cup, saucer and sugar bowl.

Fauna

Date: 2023/24

Artist: Jacqueline Bishop

Copyright: Jacqueline Bishop. Courtesy the artist. Photography by Simon Critchley.

The Harris is thrilled to announce a new acquisition to our collection, presented by Contemporary Art Society. Jacqueline Bishop’s interdisciplinary masterpiece, ‘Fauna’, sheds light on overlooked narratives of enslaved women in Caribbean society. Commissioned by The Harris, this evocative ceramic work intertwines botanical elements with maternal themes, unveiling poignant stories of resilience. Displaying alongside historical pieces, ‘Fauna’ sparks dialogues on the global history of tea and colonialism. Don’t miss its unveiling in Spring 2025!

Presented by Contemporary Art Society through the Omega Fund, 2023/24.

Image of a red and black saree suit

Saree Not Sorry

Date: 2023

Artist: Felix Roche

This Saree Suit designed by Felix Roche, BA Fashion Design student at UCLan (University of Central Lancashire), showed as part of his graduate collection ‘Saree Not Sorry’, June 2023. Felix is from London and is of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage. This design symbolises a mixture of eastern and western cultures and traditional tailoring with traditional South Asian dress.

Felix achieved this through using knots on the sleeves to symbolise the marriage of both his cultures but also to symbolise the Hindu wedding tradition of tying the newlyweds garments together – typically the bride’s veil and the groom’s sash. Alongside combining the fluidity of draping and pleating from traditional sarees to a Western suit, Felix hopes to emasculate the common perception attached to it and instead allow the garments to exist as gender-neutral pieces.

Wedding Dress

Date: 1899

Artist: Hatfield and Butler

The Harris have acquired this wedding dress from a Preston dressmaker, Hatfield and Butler, in purple grosgrain silk with ruffled cream silk collar and cuffs and pearl border trim. The wedding dress was made by a Preston dressmaker and has their label on the inside waist tape, which reads Butler & Hatfield, Costumier & Milliners, Preston.

In the 19th century, there was a fashion for British dressmakers to style themselves as ‘costumiers’ to sound more attractive to the fashionable elite. This dress was worn by the great grandmother of the donor’s husband and the wedding took place on 20th May 1899.

An image of a babydoll style yellow dress.

Yellow Dress

Artist: Worn by Claire, the alter ego of Grayson Perry

The Harris is excited to announce that we acquired two significant pieces for our fashion and textile collection – a yellow dress and bra worn by Claire, the alter ego of one of Britain’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Grayson Perry.

Claire’s dress is in her signature baby-doll style with a high waist and an above-the-knee length skirt. The raw slubbed yellow silk is printed with an abstract black and white pattern and applied with colourful vinyl shapes. The Peter Pan collar is made from white vinyl, edged with a black border. Claire’s bra has exaggerated cups made from polyester wadding and elastic straps.

Read how this new acquisition fits in with our other iconic yellow dresses here!

Image of prints of polos and larger scale polo sculpture below each print.

SUITE: FRUITS & GREEN LOOP

Date: 2019

Artist: Tony Heaton OBE

We love this set of 5 prints by artist Tony Heaton OBE. The prints, SUITE: FRUITS 2019, have been acquired alongside Green Loop, pictured here below the print on the right.

We recently caught up with Tony to discuss the newly acquired items and the inspiration behind them. Click here to see what he had to say!

Artist Gavin Renshaw painting “The Links of the Chain Are of Equal Strength”

Corona

Date: 2019

Artist: Gavin Renshaw

In 2019, local Preston artist Gavin Renshaw flew in a light aircraft above Preston. He created a bird’s-eye view drawing looking down on the city during the Covid-19 pandemic. The detailed line drawing is titled ‘Corona’ and is 1.5 metres long.

The drawing depicts the university buildings, and student houses are in the foreground. The public buildings and high-rise towers sit in front of the Higher Walton’s hill. This will be displayed on a light box on the ground floor in the ‘Heart of Preston’ display when we reopen.

Gavin is currently re-inking the drawing in preparation for the light box and we interviewed him to see what we can expect from his work. Click here to see what he had to say.

Image of a person in a red and black UCLan zipper jacket leaning on a sports ball.

Unapologetic

Date: 2022

Artist: Azraa Motala

Credit: Unapologetic is a co-commission with The Harris, Preston. Photo: Azraa Motala

The Harris have acquired a new contemporary portrait painting created by Azraa Motala. Azraa has visited the Harris since she was a child, and recognised that she could not see herself represented in the collections. She worked with us to develop a new project called ‘Unapologetic’ in 2021.

Motala created a call out through South Asian women’s network and groups, her own contacts and social media to invite women to participate as collaborators and subjects in the series of portraits. Once selected the women spent time with her in facilitated conversations about their experiences of identity, culture, misrepresentation and self-representation. The group worked with curators at the Harris to investigate the collections in order to interrogate the representation of women and the lack of representation of women like them.

Azraa’s painting will be displayed in the Art Gallery alongside a portrait of her choice from the Fine Art Collection. This portrait is of local UCLan graduate Samiya who previously represented Lancashire in Cricket. ‘A big part of my life is to do with sports and being a girl from the BAME community where there isn’t much representation in sports teams I feel it is important to be a role model for others and myself’.

The portrait was part of the exhibition titled Unapologetic at Blackburn Museum as part of the British Textile Biennial in 2021.

Image of a pottery work by Christine Cherry, a ceramic mug with bees and fairy embellishments.

Ceramic Fairy Mug

Date: 2022

Artist: Christine Cherry

Our second acquisition from Christine Cherry is this Ceramic Fairy Mug. Inspired by a ceramic tea set that she created during her time on the Channel 4 programme, this beautiful mug features a small fairy frolicking amongst delightful flowers and ladybugs. The mug will be displayed alongside Christine’s self-sculpture when we reopen.

We recently caught up with Christine to discuss the newly acquired items and the inspiration behind them. Click here to see what she had to say!

Image of a long thin ceramic piece

Strength

Date: 2022

Artist: Christine Cherry

As seen on Channel 4’s Great Pottery Throwdown, Christine Cherry created the self-sculpture to represent her battle with breast cancer, in what she described as a truly cathartic experience. Christine’s sculpture will be on display at The Harris when we reopen in 2025.

‘Sweetest Devotion’, a hand-stitched silk collage by Malawi-born, Johannesburg-based artist Billie Zangewa

Sweetest Devotion

Date: 2021/2022

Artist: Billie Zangewa

Textile Artwork ‘Sweetest Devotion’, 2020. Credit: Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Collections Fund at Frieze, 2021/22

The Harris acquired this contemporary art piece ‘Sweetest Devotion’, by Billie Zangewa. Marvel at the hand-stitched silk collage created by Malawi-born, Johannesburg-based artist.

Billie Zangewa captures a touching moment of a child and his uncle during the pandemic.

This art is part of a new collection of works that explore the many facets of family life, chosen because of your feedback through the Harris Your Place project.

Close up of the “The links of the chain are of equal strength” mural featuring a line of people waiting for the bus

“The Links of the Chain are of Equal Strength”

Date: 2022

Artist: Gavin Renshaw

To commemorate the history of textile manufacturing in the Preston area, the mural celebrates the journeys, long and short, that Courtaulds Ltd employees made drawing attention to the diversity of the workforce that came together and continues to contribute to Preston’s rich textiles heritage.

Year 9 students from Penwortham Priory Academy and Christ the King Catholic High School took part in a series of workshops with local artist Gavin Renshaw and illustrator Toya Walker to develop key themes for “The links in the chain are of equal strength”, creating artwork to be incorporated into the planning stages of development.

Local industrial heritage is the main focus of the mural, which features a collage of images including portraits of former employees who worked at Courtaulds Ltd factory in Preston. Opening in 1939, the factory quickly became one of the biggest employers in Preston at the time.

Beginning with a series of oral history recordings of former Courtaulds Ltd employees, students considered their own connections to themes around migration and textiles heritage, thinking about what it might have been like to work in the textiles factories in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Students explored the history and processes of the mill through drawing, collage and mark making with ink. Following these initial workshops in March 2022, artist Gavin Renshaw developed further on the poignant messages the students identified in their artwork.

A white and green geometric print dress.

Horrockses Fashions Dress

Date: 1957

Artist: Horrockses Fashions

The Harris recently accepted into its fashion and textile collection a beautiful Horrockses Fashions cotton summer dress with original matching belt. The dress was gifted by a Mrs Margaret Clarke of Kendal. A member of Margaret’s family contacted the museum, asking if we would like the dress. After taking a closer look, our Decorative Art Curator Scott decided it would be a fantastic addition to our beloved Horrockses Fashions collection, the largest museum collection in the UK.

The Dress was purchased in Duckworth’s, a popular fashion store in Kendal, in about 1957. Margaret paid around £5 for the dress which is the equivalent of £150 today. Green is one of Margaret’s favourite colours, so she was immediately attracted to this dress and its interesting colour combination and pattern. She remembers feeling very comfortable in the dress and loved how it not only washed well but also was very flattering on her figure.

The dress is very well travelled as Margaret’s husband Gordon was in the RAF and the couple spent some time stationed in Australia. Margaret took this dress ‘down under’ with her as she knew Horrockses’ excellent quality cotton would keep her cool in Australia’s hot climate.

Margaret loved wearing Horrockses and had 5 or 6 Horrockses Fashions dresses in her wardrobe throughout the 1950s and 60s. The Harris is now very lucky to be able to share Margaret’s story and preserve her Horrockses Fashion dress for future generations of fashionistas.

A yellow suit jacket draped over black trousers.

Empire Ensemble

Artist: Kingfisher Couture

The Harris is delighted to announce the acquisition of the Empire Ensemble by designer Ross Griffiths, known for his label Kingfisher Couture, purchased with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. This unique addition to The Harris Fashion & Textile collection represents an inspiring story of a local LGBTQIA+ designer, who is making waves in the fashion industry.

Ross Griffiths, a Preston-born designer, found inspiration in The Harris’ fashion and textile displays during his visits with his mother while growing up in Chorley. After pursuing other careers, he decided to follow his passion for fashion and founded Kingfisher Couture. Self-taught and drawing from his life experiences, Ross has gained recognition for his remarkable talent and journey.

The acquisition also holds a connection to Sir Brian May from Queen, as Ross dressed Lady Anita Dobson for the This is Icon Awards Gala in February 2023 where Ross received his own accolade as winner of the 2023 Emerging Designer Award wearing this outfit. Ross Griffiths has generously match-donated the purchase by offering his entire outfit worn to receive the This is Icon Emerging Designer Award in February 2023. This outfit, a flamboyant and extravagant statement, embodies his identity as a designer and personality, perfect for The Harris First Floor Balcony Gallery, which celebrates themes of identity and belonging.

Read more about these newly acquired items here!

A pale blue dress decorated with pink roses.

Rose Dress

Artist: Kingfisher Couture

The Harris is delighted to announce the acquisition of the exquisite Rose Dress by designer Ross Griffiths, known for his label Kingfisher Couture, purchased with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. This unique addition to The Harris Fashion & Textile collection represents an inspiring story of a local LGBTQIA+ designer, who is making waves in the fashion industry.

Ross Griffiths, a Preston-born designer, found inspiration in The Harris’ fashion and textile displays during his visits with his mother while growing up in Chorley. After pursuing other careers, he decided to follow his passion for fashion and founded Kingfisher Couture. Self-taught and drawing from his life experiences, Ross has gained recognition for his remarkable talent and journey.

The Rose Dress symbolises growth, reflecting Ross’s own transformation. The thornless rose motif on the dress signifies rebirth and the designer’s journey of overcoming addiction and homelessness, with HIV diagnosis being a turning point. The dress aligns with The Harris’s commitment to inclusivity and the representation of diverse communities within its collections.

Read more about these newly acquired items here!