Barber Association: Previous Events

Previous events

Since launching in 2017, the Barber Association has been busy!

Here are some events we have enjoyed…


The Barber Association events programme was paused in March 2020 to ensure the safety of all staff, Patrons and Members as part of the national effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

8 July: Curator-led Tour of Sights of Wonder

Our first digital event gave Patrons and Members an exclusive insight into our first online-only exhibition, Sights of Wonder: Photographs from the 1862 Royal Tour.

1 March: Review & Preview Afternoon

A vibrant Sunday afternoon celebrating the successes of 2019 and announcing the Barber’s 2020 exhibition programme. Patrons and Members visited the recently opened exhibition, Cornwall as Crucible, and enjoyed catching up over complementary Cornish cream tea refreshments.


10 December: Jan de Beer Christmas Party

Christmas Party featuring Angelus – a new dramatic intervention inspired by Jan de Beer’s altarpieces by the University of Birmingham’s Department of Drama and Theatre Arts – plus live renaissance music on the lute, and a festive buffet. Teaching fellow, Dr Pablo Pakula, has written an overview of Angelus and shared photos on his website: Angelus: Angels de Beer

25 November 2019: ‘Teeth Marks’ in Conversation

Evening talk with artist, Anna Dumitriu, and collections curator, Dr Melissa Grant, in collaboration with the Open Wide Gallery at Birmingham Dental Hospital.

8 November 2019: Trip to Private Collection and Conservator’s Studio

Patrons enjoyed an extraordinary invitation to visit the home of a private collector, followed by a fascinating visit to a conservator’s studio and a village church, internationally famous for its stained glass by William Morris.

25 October 2019: Trip to the National Portrait Gallery and Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Barber Association members enjoyed a trip to two wonderful exhibitions featuring works from the Barber’s collection. We started the day at the National Portrait Gallery with Chief Curator, Alison Smith, who gave a fantastic introduction to the Pre-Raphaelite Sisters exhibition that included our Rossetti’ piece, The Blue Bower. After a visit to the exhibition and spot of lunch we took the coach across to the Dulwich Picture Gallery to visit Rembrandt’s Light and enjoyed a guided tour by Assistant Curator, Helen Hilyard. We saw the Barber’s An Old Warrior by a Follower of Rembrandt as part of the display.

20 June 2019: Interns’ Tea Party

An annual event for our patrons, to celebrate the past year’s cohort of interns in the Collections, Communications and Marketing and Learning and Engagement departments. A chance to hear from our interns, enjoy cake and tea, and see presentations. (See gallery 5, right)

30 May 2019: Coin Handling Evening

A select number of Patrons and Members enjoyed a coin handling session with our Coin Curator Dr Vrij. As well as holding and inspecting pieces of history, they learned about the amazing collection we have at the Barber, how to read a coin, and got the opportunity to ask an expert their questions. It was a lively and enjoyable evening packed with fascinating insight into the world of numismatics. (See gallery 4, right)

9 May 2019: Trip to see The Renaissance Nude at the Royal Academy, London

The Barber Association enjoyed a fantastic tour from Royal Academy Assistant Curator Lucy Chiswell of The Renaissance Nude, an astounding exhibition to which we lent our Jan Gossaert piece Hercules and Deianira. (See gallery 3, right)

20 March 2019: Watercolour Appreciation Evening

A Patrons event that applauded the use of watercolour, including a fantastic talk from Assistant Curator Helen Cobby and a display of our own watercolours. Our Patrons were joined by the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery Patrons, as well as the Birmingham Watercolour Society. A member of the Watercolour Society shared his thoughts of the evening on his website, which you can view here: Robin Holder – A Trip to The Barber
(See gallery 2, right)

6 March 2019: Review & Preview

A great evening celebrating 2018’s successes and discussing what’s to come in the Barber calendar in 2019, finished with a viewing of our latest exhibition From Outside: Tess Jaray. (See Gallery 1, right)


26th November 2018: Trip to the Holburne Museum, Bath

A coach trip to Bath was enjoyed by Patrons and Members, as we visited the Barber’s Gainsborough A Portrait of Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci at the exhibition Gainsborough and the Theatre. The director of the museum gave the Barber Association an exclusive tour, followed by lunch and exploring of the beautiful city of Bath.

24th October 2018: ‘An Evening with the Vuillards’

This was an exclusive opportunity to hear curator Dr Francesca Berry talk about Vuillard and the exhibition Maman: Vuillard and Madam Vuillard. As well as this, actors bought the artist’s nineteenth century Parisian apartment to life in the foyer, engaging with and entertaining Members while they enjoyed refreshments. (See gallery 9, right)

28 June 2018: ‘Drawn to Perfection’ Exhibition in Conversation

An exclusive viewing of our summer exhibition with Royal Collection Trust, followed by a chance to hear the student curator’s experiences of curating the exhibition. (See gallery 8, right)

21 June 2018: Interns’ Tea Party

An annual event for our Patrons, to celebrate the past year’s cohort of interns in the Collections, Communications and Marketing and Learning and Engagement departments. (See gallery 7, right)

20 March 2018: Barber and Winterbourne Joint Event

A joint event with the Friends of Winterbourne House and Garden. Guests had the chance to view ‘The Rhythm of Light’, our Scottish Colourists exhibition, before talks from the the Barber’s Director Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director Robert Wenley, Winterbourne’s Collections Officer Henrietta Lockhart and Lee Hale, the Head of Winterbourne. Lee and Henrietta then led the guests on a tour of Winterbourne’s house and grounds. (See gallery 6, right)

20 February 2018: Review and Preview 

A look back at the Association highlights from 2017 and a look forward to the exhibitions and events planned for 2018.

There was a busy programme of Barber Association events at the gallery and beyond in 2017.

In July, the Association was officially launched with a Saturday afternoon tea party that focussed on the loan to the gallery of the Monet masterpiece, Water Lily Pond, from the Art Institute of Chicago. As well as tea and cakes, 300 Members and Patrons were treated to talks on Monet and on the fashion for water gardens by the Barber’s Assistant Curator, Helen Cobby, and Head of Winterbourne, Lee Hales. And as well as enjoying the Monet in the gallery, visitors were able to gain complimentary entrance to Winterbourne House and Garden to see their real Japanese Bridge and water lily pond.

Members and Patrons were welcomed to In Rehearsal/In Conversation in September – an exclusive opportunity to see the Barber Opera company in dress rehearsal for their production of Popora’s L’Agrippina (1708), before hearing the MA Art History student curators share their experiences of curating More Real Than Life: 19th-century Portrait Photography. Patrons were also invited to a special VIP Reception before the first performance of L’Agrippina, where they were introduced by the show by the Director, Daisy Evans and the Music Director, Peyton and Barber Professor of Music Andrew Kirkman, before enjoying the opera itself.

Barber and Ikon Patrons mingled in November at a special reception, held at Ikon Gallery, to mark the loan of two of the Barber’s prints for Portrait of the Artist: Käthe Kollwitz. Ikon Director Jonathan Watkins provided a tour of the exhibition, exploring the extremely moving and intense work of one of the leading German artists of the early 20th century.

Patrons also enjoyed the exhibition launch for Pride and Persecution: Jan Steen’s Old Testament Scenes on 26 October. Following a welcome given by Nicola Kalinsky, Professor Christopher Brown CBE – Henry Barber Trustee, former Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and expert on Dutch Golden Age art – gave an introduction to Jan Steen and the exhibition.

More than 50 Patrons and Members joined us for a special event on 8 November – Jan Steen: An evening of music and art. Guests heard Robert Wenley – Deputy Director and Head of Collections, Barber Institute – give an introduction to the exhibition before enjoying an exclusive evening viewing of the exhibition, and the Barber’s collections, to the strains of 17th century Baroque cello music performed by Imogen Seth-Smith, sub-principal cellist for both the Academy of Ancient Music and the Symphony of Harmony and Invention.