Drawing on experience at the British Museum

Rembrandt image. ©Trustees of the British Museum

Rembrandt image. ©Trustees of the British Museum

There was once a time when art students wouldn’t dream of being apart from their sketchpads and pencils. But nowadays, you’re far more likely to find artists stuck behind a camera lens or computer screen.

But, on a mission to revive the art of drawing, the British Museum are launching a new project to re-establish drawing by hand as the foundation of illustration and art. They’ve lent 70 of their most important drawings to a new exhibition, Lines of Thought, which is set to tour a handful of museums around the UK.

Isabel Seligman, the exhibition’s curator, found her inspiration for the show during a visit to an art school, when a teacher revealed to her that her students were ‘more likely to have a blog than a sketchbook’.

For this exhibition, Seligman invites students to dust the cobwebs off their sketchbooks and leave behind their cameras at home. She hopes visitors will use their pencils and pads to interact with each of the drawings as they walk around the show. And so they should. Whether you're an artist or not, drawing your experiences makes them more memorable and offers you a new way to explore and interrogate what you're seeing. 

Exhibition highlights include the lesser-known works of Henry Moore, Rembrandt, Cezanne, Matisse, Barbara Hepworth, and many more.

What’s more, these drawings are only allowed out of the vaults once a decade due to their sensitivity to light. So, if you don’t fancy waiting another 10 years, take your pencil and pad along to your nearest show.

The exhibition is currently being shown at the Ulster Museum, Belfast.