Image: Deatil ofColquhoun, Ithell (1926) © Ruth Borchard Collection, courtesy of Piano Nobile, Robert Travers (Works of Art) Ltd

*This exhibition is now closed*

From 25 March until 25 June 2017, The Lightbox gallery and museum presented Ruth Borchard Collection: Artists' Self-Portraits, an exhibition displaying one hundred self-portraits by significant modern British artists such as Michael Ayrton, Cecil Collins, Roger Hilton, Ithell Colquhoun and Carel Weight. With pieces dating from 1921 to 1971, the exhibition provided a unique overview of this era in Modern British Art.

The Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Collection was the life-long project of the author and patron of the arts Ruth Borchard (1910-2000). Born in a village near Hamburg, Ruth and her husband Kurt Borchard fled Germany as Jewish refugees in 1938, eventually settling in Reigate, Surrey. Between 1958 and 1971, Ruth Borchard collected one hundred self-portraits by British and British-based artists, all of which will be shown in this comprehensive exhibition.

Green, Anthony (1960) © Ruth Borchard Collection, courtesy of Piano Nobile, Robert Travers (Works of Art) Ltd

Inspired by personal works of literature such as diaries, autobiographies and letters, Borchard was struck with the idea to collect introspective art in the form of self-portraits. Setting herself the modest budget of 21 guineas per artwork, equivalent to approximately £2000 in today’s money, collecting existing works and commissioning new pieces soon became a passion.

Visiting avant-garde London galleries and student art exhibitions throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the significant collection of modern art grew to include watercolours, gouache, oil paintings, lithographic prints, sketches, and one sculpted relief, by both established and up-and-coming artists.

Borchard herself once wrote: 'one of the greatest satisfactions of my collection: about one in three of the self-portraits were done because of my request. They would not exist but for that. It makes me feel creative at one remove.'

The exhibition presented selected pieces displayed along the wall outside the Main Gallery, leading the viewer in. Bringing together the entirety of Borchard's collection, the styles vary from detailed, literal likenesses, to abstract, symbolic depictions of the artists, drawing the viewer to consider the artists in an extremely personal way.

25 March 2017 – 25 June 2017

The exhibition was presented in partnership withPiano Nobile, who manage the collection.