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July 22, 2009 featured, The Letters 2 Comments
Mary Greg letters

Mary Greg letters

I’ve been thinking a lot about value. It’s a common thread of discussion every time we meet. The value of the collection to Mary and the lack of value (or perceived lack of value) the collection has within the Art Gallery currently. I wondered if this was always the case. The letters certainly reveal that the collection was held in greater esteem in the 1920’s. It was considered worthy enough to house a permanent display at Heaton Hall. Bathos writes (9th Oct 1924)

“….your collection at Heaton Hall is still attracting thousands weekly. Up to date this year over 154,000 visitors have passed through the turnstiles.”

And again in 1925 (Aug 17th)

“…123,208 visitors to your exhibition of dolls at Heaton Hall this year.”

There was even a Royal visitor in May 1927!

“.. Princess Mary appreciated all that was shown her”.

Interestingly in June 1927 Bathos informs Mary that Heaton Hall had 16,000 visitors over Whitsun compared to the 14,000 at the City Art Gallery. 1-0 Mary!

If value were to be judged by visitor figures alone then this collection was significant. I also think there must be some value in further research into the visitor demographic and exhibition content held at different sites. Did one appeal more to the masses and why? Are there any other historic, statistical records held at the Gallery? When and why was the collection taken off display at Heaton Hall? Is that when it went into storage?


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Alex says:

    Everyone can relate to Mary’s objects, no matter who you are, or where you come from. You don’t have to be part of an educated elite and they are not things you’d expect to see behind the pompous pillars and facades of a gallery. Children have, and will always have, toys; houses continue to have locks and keys; we eat from spoons; we learn to read and write. It’s that sense of the everyday that makes these things almost transcend the everyday – we can revere the things because of the memories and feelings they evoke. And that is perhaps the highest value that we can give anything.

  2. Alex says:

    And did more people look at Mary’s collection of curiosities than went to see her husband’s esteemed ceramics collection? This would be so interesting to find out.

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