Furious, Wild and Young: The Death of Chatterton

by Royal West of England Academy | Bristol
Date of event: 07/10/20 - 17/09/20

A unique opportunity to see a painting that created a sensation when it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856, and was described by leading Victorian art critic John Ruskin as ‘faultless and wonderful’.

2020 marks 250 years since the death of Bristol-born poet Thomas Chatterton. Despite his accolade as the “Father of Romantic Poetry”, he’s largely unknown in Bristol. Chatterton’s writings, life and death was a source of fascination for artists and writers in the 19th century and he became a tragic hero, emblematic of artistic martyrdom.

Accompanying the exhibition of Wallis’ painting at the RWA, the programme also includes new publications; poetry commissions and readings; mental health workshops and lectures.

Former Bath Young Poet Laureate Polly Denny has been appointed Writer in Residence at RWA during the Wallis exhibition and will be running workshops around the painting and writing a poem to mark the new phase in the gallery’s history. RWA will be exhibiting artworks made by young people of a similar age to Chatterton alongside the Wallis painting. These artworks have been created with community youth groups and students in workshops exploring Chatterton’s significance, led by Polly Denny and RWA Academicians Nicky Knowles and Laurie Steen.