At the start of the year, I discovered that the Russell-Cotes museum in Bournemouth was to hold a world exclusive retrospective of Alphonse Mucha’s work – In Quest of Beauty. This was rather exciting news to behold, as The Mucha Foundation have not exhibited in the UK for almost 15 years, so naturally I knew I had to see this exhibition.
I actually lived in Bournemouth for three years whilst I was studying for my degree, so the town itself was rather familiar to me. Having said that, I hadn’t returned to Bournemouth since I graduated, so it had changed quite a bit – new shops springing up, an abundance of coffee shops and Tesco Metros, and a Cath Kidston were all new additions for me.
The weather forecast looked extremely promising for the day – bright sunshine, warm, overall very pleasant. However, the reality was somewhat different.. I arrived in Bournemouth to a thick cloud of fog & mist, which literally permeated throughout the entire town. It lasted the whole day, so it was overall rather chilly and overcast (not the bright sun-fest I had expected it to be!) As a result, my hair set flopped in a rather spectacularly bad way – hence the absence of hair/outfit pictures (and I was on my own, so I would have felt like a goon trying to attempt a ‘selfie’).
Anyways, fog & hair flops aside, I arrived at the Russell-Cotes. I had forgotten what a magnificent building it is, the house itself is crammed with all sorts of artefacts and objects, it really it a feast for the eyes.
The Mucha exhibition was situated in two rooms and split into three sections; Women – Icons & Muses, Le Style Mucha, and finally Beauty – the Power of Inspiration. Overall I was very impressed with the exhibition and the pieces chosen to be displayed in the show. For some reason, I thought the more ‘well known’ pieces would be omitted, but they were indeed present. The beautiful ‘The Seasons’ were displayed in all their glory, as were ‘The Flowers’ series, and theatre posters depicting his muse Sarah Bernhardt.
NOTE: Photography was not permitted in the Mucha exhibition itself, although was permitted in the house. The pictures of Mucha’s work which feature here are from prints that were displayed in the café gallery (where photography was permitted).
I was particularly impressed with Mucha’s sketches and drawings, the detail in these was truly breath-taking. I also thought that some of his pattern repeats based on natural objects would serve as beautiful wallpaper or fabric prints, even in todays times.
I definitely recommend paying Mucha – In Quest of Beauty a visit, as the exhibition itself is wonderful, and likewise the Russell-Cotes is a fabulous place to have a good mooch around and explore.