In a Brown Study

Des Hughes, 1970

In a Brown Study

Des Hughes 1970


In his house at 2 Willow Road, Hamspstead, renowned modernist architect, Erno Goldfinger displayed objects and images from his life in a ‘framed screen’ in changing combinations to create Surrealist associations. Des Hughes recreates this idea for his own work which is an exhibition in itself – a collection of diverse objects made by Hughes which draw inspiration from other works. In his other work as a sculptor Hughes engages with traditional sculptural materials in new and inventive ways: mixing bronze with organic material for instance. He is also fascinated by the strangeness of British art whether it be primitive art, strange craft objects or the reinvention of landscape and still life in British Surrealism. 1) Cabinet-wood, paint, polyester resin, fibreglass, pigment-180 x 173 x 25cm 2) (on top) 'Undead' (2011) bronze powder, polyester resin-5 peices at 8 x 7 x 7cm approx 3) (bottom left) 'A Face Like a Foot' (2011) copper powder, polyester resin, fibreglass-45 x 36 x 18cm 4) (bottom right) 'Testing a Metal For Strength' (2011) plaster, wood-25 x 120 x 15cm 5) (centre) 'Poppet' (2008) polyester resin, pigment, wire-14 x 5 x 1cm (hanging on) 'Rusty Screw' (2008) oxidised polyester resin and iron powder-1 x 1 x 2cm Pictures 6) (top left) 'Finger Hand' (2010) Framed watercolour on paper-28 x 17cm 7) (top centre) 'Finger Hole' (2010) Framed watercolour on paper-17 x 28cm 8) (top right) '...the Terrible' (2010) Framed watercolour on paper-76.7 x 57cm 9) (bottom left) 'Brown Hair (2011) Framed watercolour on paper-size? 10) (bottom right) 'Rusted Hood' (2010) Framed watercolour and ink on paper-31 x 40cm

Display Label

Everything’s Inevitable Works from the collection of Manchester Art Gallery selected by Des Hughes 1 May 2012 – 2013 Manchester Art Gallery has invited sculptor Des Hughes to make a selection of works from our collection to show alongside a framed assemblage piece, In a Brown Study 2011 which will be a new acquisition. Des Hughes lives and works in Kington, Herefordshire. His Do You Think of Me Often is also a recent addition to the Whitworth Art Gallery collection. ‘When I first looked through the collection I planned to select works in a logical way by grouping work by certain themes that I had noticed. Because it is such a vast collection I was overwhelmed, a pleasurable experience in itself, but the idea of 'selecting ' works involves making sense, using a system. To search the collection thoroughly I felt that every work should have a fair audition based on this system. 'Beards', 'hair', 'holes', 'abstract sculpture in paintings made before abstract sculpture was invented' were just some of the themes that seemed to suggest themselves. By grouping works small and probably irrelevant details might connect random and distant painting and sculpture and become important, and in doing so reveal something to myself and others how I might use them in my sculpture. But every time I went through the collection completely different exhibitions would surface and particular works would keep distracting me from these schemes. I noticed that it was exactly the way in which I would view exhibitions, and in fact the way I view everything, scrolling through until a single anecdotal element lights up. Whatever and whenever it is, it suddenly feels vital and current and needs to be made. It connects with past works or particular material or technique, image or gesture and somehow becomes 'inevitable'. An element of every painting, sculpture and particularly the modest items of decorative arts in this selection has become a part of this raw material of future works. ‘ Des Hughes

Object Name

In a Brown Study

Creators Name

Des Hughes

Date Created



framed: 180cm x 173cm

accession number


Place of creation







Purchased with the support of the Friends of Manchester Art Gallery, through the Contemporary Art Society Acquisition Scheme, 2012


© Des Hughes

Fill out my online form.