Brand new exhibition launched as FE McWilliams Gallery reopens

Banbridge’s famed FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio and Sculpture Garden reopened its doors to the public this week with an exciting new photography exhibition.

Photographer Anne-Katrin Purkiss
Photographer Anne-Katrin Purkiss

Named one of the UK and Ireland’s artistic ‘hidden gems’ by the Irish Times and ‘remarkable’ by the Irish Independent’s top travel writer, the gallery, studio, sculpture garden and accompanying café, is dedicated to the memory of Banbridge-born sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam, one of Ireland’s most influential and successful artists.

Located just outside Banbridge off the A1 near The Boulevard, the leading art and cultural destination, which has been closed since December, features a permanent exhibition of McWilliam’s iconic works, temporary exhibitions of Irish and international artists, as well as a craft shop and tourist information centre.

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A new exhibition - Sculptors at Work: Photographs by Anne-Katrin Purkiss – now takes centre stage as part of its reopening plans, providing yet another great reason to visit.

One of the photographs in the exhibition is of FE McWilliams

Born in Germany, Anne-Katrin Purkiss studied Journalism and Photography at Leipzig University from 1979-1983. After working as a photographer for the Leipzig advertising agency Dewag, she moved to Britain and worked for the London Bureau of Associated Press until 1988.

Since then, she has been a freelance journalist and photographer working for the Foreign Office’s London Press Service, the Cabinet Office and the Countryside Agency.

Jill McEneaney, Arts Culture and Heritage Manager at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, said: “After such a long absence, I am delighted to confirm that we will officially reopen our doors to welcome back visitors – old and new – to experience a new, thought-provoking exhibition which we’ve been busily planning for summer and autumn 2021.

“When Anne-Katrin Purkiss photographed FE McWilliam in London in 1989, neither could have envisaged that, more than 30 years later, the image would hang in a museum dedicated to the sculptor in his birthplace of Banbridge. In the years since that serendipitous meeting, Anne-Katrin Purkiss has photographed dozens of sculptors, often in their studios, and I’m delighted to unveil this special exhibition of her work to mark our official return.”

The FE McWilliams Gallery has reopened

Visitors are also encouraged to book in advance, even to see the main collection, which remains free, to control numbers and help reduce contact.