During the 1950s and 1960s, an extraordinary patron of the arts, Ruth Borchard, built up an unparalleled collection of 100 self-portraits by British and Irish artists. Ruth Borchard died in 2000, leaving behind both this astonishing collection and also the legacy of supporting contemporary self- portraiture, a legacy revived in 2011 through the inauguration of the Ruth Borchard Next Generation Collection. Continuing Ruth Borchard’s project into the twenty-first century, the Next Generation Collection of self-portraits by contemporary British and Irish artists ensures the Collection remains vital and vivid, and that its inheritance endures beyond Ruth Borchard’s lifetime.

The Next Generation Collection currently consists of 64 self-portraits and is continually growing, brought together through purchases from the biennial Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, most recently held in 2015 at Piano Nobile Kings Place and won by Shanti Panchal. The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation will be the first occasion that the Next Generation Collection will be shown in its entirety, alongside a selection from the Original Collection to initiate a dialogue between the 20th and 21st century collections.


Opening simultaneously with The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation, the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, will be exhibiting The Painter Behind the Canvas. With significant loans from the Ruth Borchard Original Collection paired with two works from the Next Generation Collection including a self-portrait by Maggi Hambling, the Jerwood Gallery will present self-portraits by artists in their collection. The Jerwood Gallery is the 2016 Museum Partner for the Ruth Borchard Collection.


The fundamental tenet of the Next Generation Collection is to bring together diverse artists, rarely traditional portraitists, who briefly, inquisitively, turn their eye upon themselves. Subject and object become one and the same, seeing and being seen elide in a moment of revelation and self- reflection. Bringing together the collection reveals its immense variation, despite an ostensibly similar motif. Artists represented in the collection range from those at the outset of their artistic practice, such as students Atlanta Arden-Miller and Tabitha Steinberg, to those with luminous careers including Celia Paul and Adam Birtwistle. A multitude of media appear in the collection including Shanti Panchals watercolour, Rob Miless lithograph, Paul Bloomers woodcut and Marco Livingstones self-portrait on a dartboard. The Collection also includes artists usually known for practices other than painting such as the sculptor Nicola Hicks.


The Ruth Borchard Collection: The Next Generation; Self-Portraiture in the 21st Century reveals that contemporary self-portraiture is continually intriguing, significant and ever evolving. The curious paradox of the intimate familiarity of ones face and yet its strange foreignness when scrutinised through anothers gaze endures perpetually. 


For further information please visit the Ruth Borchard website