Researcher reveals lost world of local artist in new museum exhibition
Sussex art historian Alexandra Loske’s trip to a Lewes antique shop led to her own exhibition of rarely seen works at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.
Alexandra, who is currently carrying out doctoral research into the décor of Brighton Pavilion, bought an etching by an artist called Robert Goff (1837-1922). She then discovered that Goff was a Hove-based artist and that Brighton Museum had a sizeable collection of his works.
Alexandra’s subsequent research into Goff’s life and work led to an invitation to curate an exhibition in the Museum’s Prints and Drawings Gallery.
The exhibition is devoted to 50 of Goff’s black and white etchings and other works, not displayed since the1920s, depicting scenes of Edwardian Brighton and Hove, industrial London and the Thames and evocative images of Egypt, Italy and Japan.
The art of etching is becoming fashionable again, partly in reaction, Alexandra thinks, to the predominance of digital images.
She says: “With an etching you can admire the processes and the skill that went into the image – and they are very collectible items.”
Wealthy but with a strong sense of civic duty, Goff was an active figure in Brighton and Hove’s arts scene. He even kept on his studio in Holland Road after he left his Adelaide Crescent home in Hove to live abroad in 1903.
He loved the sea, and his views of Brighton, Hove and Shoreham feature dramatic waves and some of the city’s lost buildings and piers. One etching features all of Brighton’s famous piers – the Chain Pier, Palace Pier and the West Pier.
‘Robert Goff: An etcher in the wake of Whistler’ runs to 29 April 2012. On 12 February Alexandra Loske will give a gallery tour, introducing Goff’s work and discussing his atmospheric etchings.