Portrait of a Lady: The Life and Passions of Lady Barber

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

14 December 2012 – 24 February 2013

Founded in December 1932 'for the study and encouragement of art and music,' the Barber Institute is now 80 years old and is planning a year of anniversary exhibitions

James Jebusa Shannon, Portrait of Lady Barber, c. 1912
Portrait of a Lady celebrates the life of Martha Constance Hattie Barber, whose bequest led to the founding of the Barber Institute as a gift to the University of Birmingham. Central to the exhibition is a group of portraits of Lady Barber by her artist of choice, Nestor Cambier.

Also included will be some outstanding but rarely seen textiles from Culham Court, and some of the finest pieces from Lady Barber’s fascinating collection of lace. These works of art will be complemented by archive photos and documents that will provide insights into the lives and interests of the Barbers.

A final section will explore their connections with the University of Birmingham, culminating in Lady Barber’s historic gift.

Further exhibitions in the celebrations include Inspired by Lace – works by Jacqueline Lawrence inspired by the collection – and The Most Perfect Example of his Work, which explores the conception of the building by its first director, Thomas Bodkin, and the architect Robert Atkinson.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm (Sat & Sun from 11am)

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)