Over the years, the Museum of Richmond has had the pleasure of exploring the vast and varied history of the borough whose natural beauty inspired writers and artists alike, as well as attracted royalty and the aristocracy.
To reflect this rich and fascinating history, the Museum has had exhibitions devoted to the famous historical artistic and literary figures that found a home here. Additionally, a number of exhibitions have focused on the borough’s exciting political history, being a major home of the monarchy and elite of society for many years. Richmond’s role as the home of many major beneficiaries of the slave trade made it a popular location for abolitionist efforts, as well as the site of the Britain’s first Poppy Factory and numerous Suffragette campaigns.
1914-1918: Richmond at Home and at War
8th August 2014 - 22nd April 2015
Drawing on archival research performed by volunteers, this exhibition explored the impact of the First World War on the lives of Richmond residents, including the arrival of refugees from Europe and the restrictions placed on everyday life. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this exhibition provided an opportunity for visitors from Richmond and beyond to learn more about the part played by the town during the Great War.
Encountering the Uncharted and Back – Three Explorers; Ball, Vancouver and Burton
30th January 2014 - 26th July 2014
This exhibition drew on local and national collections, complementing recent research into the lives of explorers George Vancouver and Sir Richard Burton. Additionally, the exhibition examined the life of naval commander Rear Admiral Henry Lidgbird Ball. These three men were all buried in the Borough of Richmond, and are a testament to the town’s relationship to the increased understanding of faraway lands being promoted across Europe.
Richmond Theatre: Through the Stages
18th September 2010 - 26th February 2011
This exhibition was curated by a number of local Richmond residents, and intended to celebrate the history of the Richmond Theatre. Opened in 1899 as the Richmond Theatre and Opera House with a production of ‘As You Like It’, the theatre itself is one of the best surviving examples of architecture designed by theatre architect Frank Matcham.
How The Vote Was Won
1st May 2010 - 4th September 2010
This exhibition celebrated the incredible artistic and political work of the suffragettes and how the movement inspired the work of artists, writers and theatre-makers. These included the Actresses’ Franchise League (AFL) and Artists’ Suffrage League. There was also a great level of involvement of local Richmond residents in the suffrage movement, including Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, god-daughter to Queen Victoria, who founded the Tax Resistance Movement.
Man Remade: Paul Drury’s War in Richmond
25th October 2006 - 17th March 2007
This exhibition highlighted the artistic works created by Paul Drury during the Second World War, which only became publicly known in the 1980s. Aged 35 at the outbreak of the War, Paul Drury was deemed unfit for active service due to visual impairment. Instead, he and his wife, the painter Enid Solomon, volunteered at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, where he created numerous drawings of patients and hospital equipment. Known as a talented portrait artist, Drury managed to sympathetically portray his sitters at the hospital, who often had suffered physical or psychological trauma.
28th September 2005 - 18th March 2006
This exhibition focused on the period when J.M.W. Turner lived in the Richmond area, particularly Syon Ferry House, Isleworth and Sandycombe Lodge in Twickenham. Turner produced a number of river views during his time in the area, a number of which were displayed as part of the exhibition, as well as a short history of Turner and others who recorded the Richmond river area during the early 19th century.
Arthur Hughes: The Last Pre-Raphaelite
10th November 1998 - 13th March 1999
This exhibition was dedicated to the artist Arthur Hughes, who worked alongside the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood from the 1850s and was a staunch devotee to their artistic ideals. Hughes had a residency in Kew, where he produced a number of paintings that were displayed in the exhibition, and his work ‘The Rift Within The Lute’ was used for the exhibition promotional images.
The Factory of Remembrance: The Poppy & the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory
1st November 1994-28th January 1995
This exhibition focused on the history of the Royal Legion Poppy Factory on Petersham Road, Richmond. Originally established in a former collar factory on the Old Kent Road, London, in 1922, the factory moved to its current location in 1926, on the site of the disused Lansdown Brewery, and continued to be staffed by disabled ex-servicemen. The factory remains open to this day, producing Remembrance Day poppies and wreaths.