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TSM: Picture of the Week: Works of art in public collections in the Midlands; A Hilltop near Naples 1782 by Thomas Jones (1742-1803) Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (P55'54) Chosen by Tessa Sidey, Curator: Prints and Drawings.

The Welsh artist Thomas Jones went to Italy in 1776, where he stayed until 1783. His Memoirs refer to the variety of international contacts that he established in Rome and Naples, painting landscapes mainly for British visitors but also for Russians and Germans.

His most significant contribution to the history of art and to landscape painting is the series of oil studies on paper made directly from nature at this time.

A Hilltop, Naples was probably one of the sketches drawn from a window in a cell in the Convent of Santa Maria a Capella in May 1782.

As Jones describes, "as for a room to paint in, I procured one in a little convent adjoining, called the Capella Vecchia, situated in the Borgo of the Chaja and very near Sr Wm Hamilton's palace. The only window it had looked into a small garden and over a part of the suburbs, particularly the Capella nuova, another convent, the Ponta di Chaja, Palace of Villa Franca and part of the hill of Pusilippo, with Castle of St Elmo and convent of St Martini etc, all of which I did not omit making finished studies of in oil upon primed paper".

It appears that none of these remarkable "small" landscapes were sold in Jones' lifetime. Rather, they appear to have been for the artist's own amusement, only becoming public knowledge when a descendant sent a portfolio for auction at Christie's in London in 1854, the year that Birmingham Museums acquired A Hilltop near Naples.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 0121 303 2834: The Science of Sport. Until Sep 12; Entwined. Contemporary paintings in the tradition of Indian miniatures by Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Singh. Until June 13; Whistler: Friends and Foes. Whistler prints from the permanent collection, alongside others by contemporaries he inspired or infuriated. Until Aug 1; More Favourite Things. Exhibits selected by members of the public. Until Oct 24 (Mon-Thur, Sat 10am-5pm, Fri 10.30am-5pm, Sun 12.30pm-5pm).

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Ikon Gallery, 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace 0121 248 0708: E.S.P. Artists investigate the paranormal. Ends tomorrow (Tues-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat, Sun 11am-5pm).

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Royal Birmingham Society of Artists 0121 643 3768: Paintings by Rob Perry. Until June 19 (Mon-Sat 10.30am-5pm).

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MAC, Cannon Hill Park 0121 440 3838: India 50; A Working People. Photographs by Sebastio Salgado. Until June 20; Susan Vernon: Hand to Mouth. The culture and form of eating implements. Until June 20 (daily 9am-11pm).

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Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry 01203 524524: View R. Works in response to the Rugby Collection by David Ward, Hermione Wiltshire and Daphne Wright. Until July 3 (Mon-Sat 12 noon-9pm).

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Wolverhampton Art Gallery 01902 552055: Mountain. Exhibition exploring the fascination mountains have held for artists, from Richard Wilson, 18th century father of British landscape, to present-day artists like Rachel Fenner and Andy Goldsworthy. Until June 19; Something to Say. Female artists from the permanent collection. Until Aug 28 (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm).

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Light House, Chubb Buildings Fryer St, Wolverhampton 01902 716055: Hic Habitat Felicitas. Digital images by Marcus Benson exploring the uneasy relationship between Christianity and homosexuality; Dancing Kweens. Computer manipulated images of gay club life by Ming de Nasty. Until June 18 (Mon-Friday 9am-5pm).

Bilston Craft Gallery and Museum, Mount Pleasant, Bilston 01902 552507: Home Maker . Craft objects for the home including cushions, mirrors, vases and lamps. Until July 3 (Mon-Thur 10am-4pm, Sat 11am-4pm; Fri pre-arranged groups only).

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The Gallery, Stratford Leisure and Visitor Centre, Bridgefoot, Stratford-upon-Avon 01789 414412: Expanded View. Stratford's new contemporary art gallery is launched with an Ikon touring exhibition exploring the influence of new technology on landscape paintings by Blaise Drummond, Joana Hyslop, Masakatsu Kondo and Catrin Webster. Until July 4 (Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat, Sun 9am-6pm).

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Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum 01905 25371: Tony Phillips Guide to the Twentieth Century . Until June 26; Regimental Silver. Until June 30 (Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri 9.30am-6pm; Sat 9.30am-5pm).

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Burford House, Tenbury Wells, Shropshire 01584 810777: Bernard Lassus, a landscape approach. First British showing in Britain since 1985 for the work of Bernard Lassus, a one-time pupil of Fernand Leger and now one of the world's leading landscape designers. Until July 1(daily 10am-5pm).

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Globegallery, Newport St, Hay-on-Wye 01497 831721: Large new contemporary art gallery launched to coincide with the annual literary festival with an exhibition of San Art from the Kalahari desert plus work by a group of UK contemporary artists. Until July 31(Wed-Sun 10am-6pm).

STUDENT EXHIBITIONS

Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (information 0121 331 5878): Foundation & Community Studies, Linden Rd, Bournville (Tue-Thur 10am-8pm, Fri, Sat 10am-5pm) Jewellery & Silversmithing, Vittoria St, Hockley (Thur, June 21, 22 10am-8pm; Fri-Sun 10am-5pm) Fashion, Textiles & Three Dimensional Design/Visual Communication, Gosta Green (Thur 10am-8pm, Fri-Sun 10am-5pm) Fine Art, Margaret St (Thur 10am-8pm, Fri-Sun 10am-5pm).
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 12, 1999
Words:791
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