Inside the home of an art-aholic: The Hepworth Wakefield's massive bequest from a private collector

By Richard Moss | 02 March 2016

The Hepworth Wakefield is to reveal its recent bequest of artworks amassed by a private collector in London with a summer exhibition

a photo of a man leaning against the wall of a corridor filled with paintings and prints
Tim Sayer in the art filled corridor of his London home© Rosie Hallam
A collection of twentieth century artworks amassed by a private collector in his London flat over forty years and recently bequeathed to The Hepworth Wakefield is to be revealed in a major exhibition this summer.  

Its owner, Tim Sayer, a retired BBC newswriter of “modest means”, was originally inspired to start collecting after a visit to the former home of collector Jim Ede, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, but he says it was the design, layout and setting of the Wakefield gallery that inspired him to part with his treasures.

“I was amazed by David Chipperfield’s remarkable building with its sequence of ten beautifully-lit gallery spaces, and I realised that it would be the perfect home for my collection,” says Sayer.

The avid collector has amassed artworks by the likes of Alexander Calder, Anthony Caro, Sonia Delaunay, David Hockney, Henry Moore, Paul Nash, Gerhard Richter and Bridget Riley – all of them displayed in the nooks and crannies and on the surfaces of his modest home.

From April 30 until October 25, a new exhibition at The Hepworth called The Tim Sayer Bequest:  A Private Collection Revealed will celebrate the haul, with a display of approximately 100 of the works as part of the gallery’s 5th anniversary programme.

a photo of a man in a corridor crammed with books and artworks
Tim Sayer admires a photograph of Henry Moore© Rosie Hallam
It will be the first time the art collection has been publicly displayed, and will include a small selection from a portfolio of more than 150 early prints – the first works that Tim Sayer collected – alongside significant groupings of works by Naum Gabo and Prunella Clough.  

Works by over 50 other artists will be exhibited, from sculpture by David Nash and Jonathan Miller, to ceramics by Ewen Henderson and Gordon Baldwin. The exhibition will also explore the domestic context of the collection in the Sayer home.

“It gives us great satisfaction to pledge our collection to The Hepworth Wakefield, where it will be enjoyed by generations of gallery goers for many years to come within such a superb building and inspiring art historical context,” added Sayer.

“As a self-confessed ‘art-oholic’, my collection has been a lifetime’s passion, inspired by seeing the collection at Kettle’s Yard, which I’m delighted will be on display concurrently.”

Emphasising the importance of philanthropic giving, Hepworth Wakefield Director, Simon Wallis, revealed how the gallery had “secured acquisitions and gifts totalling more than £7 million” since the 2011 opening of the gallery, which began with The Hepworth Family Gift.

a photo of a man in a room filled with artworks
© Rosie Hallam
“Continuing to build on the legacy of Wakefield’s unique collection has been a fundamental part of our ambitions at The Hepworth Wakefield,” he added, “and there will be the opportunity to see some of these newly acquired works in our new collection displays during our 5th anniversary year.”  

Wallis also revealed the gallery will be introducing the Arts Council-backed Own Art scheme later this year, “to help aspiring collectors develop their own art collections.” 
  • The Tim Sayer Bequest will be exhibited as part of The Hepworth Wakefield’s spring-summer exhibitions programme, which includes: Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield (May 21 –  September 4); and Yorkshire: Hepworth, Moore and the Landscape (April 30 – Spring 2017).
a photo of a toilet covered in prints and artworks
© Rosie Hallam

a photo of a man peering over the banister of stairway with artworks behind him on the wall
© Rosie Hallam

a photo of a man standing in a room covered in artworks
© Rosie Hallam

a photo of a man seated next to a sculpture on a plinth
© Rosie Hallam

a photo of a black and white print in a silver frame
A Hockney print© Rosie Hallam

a photo of two men looking at each other in a room filled with art
Grateful Hepworth Wakefield Director Simon Wallis with Tim Sayer in his home© Rosie Hallam

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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