barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Tennis in Art

The first game of lawn tennis was played in 1859 by Major Harry Gem and his friend, Jean Batista Augurio Perera, on a court at the latter’s home, 8 Ampton Road, Edgbaston.

This unique show at the Barber – less than half a mile away – is the first ever to explore the subject of tennis in art. It brings together paintings, drawings and sculptures inspired by the game, including Sir John Lavery’s iconicThe Tennis Party and other works by artists as diverse as LS Lowry, Eric Ravilious, Stanley Spencer, EH Shepard (of Winnie the Pooh fame) and David Hockney.

The main exhibition will be accompanied by a large display of historic tennis equipment, photographs and memorabilia tracing the origins of the game and the importance of Edgbaston as its birthplace.


Above Image: Sir John Lavery, The Rally (detail), Glasgow Life/ Glasgow Museums; by courtesy of Felix Rosenstiel’s Window and SonLtd., London on behalf of the Estate of Sir John Lavery.