Emmy Bridgwater: The Edge of Beyond

1 Dec 2022-27 Jan 2023


An exhibition on the poet and a painter Emmy Bridgwater (b. 1906, Birmingham – d. 1999, Solihull, UK).

Bridgwater began formal art education at the progressive Birmingham School of Art, which had a history of welcoming women artists. Here, she became a skilled painter and draughtswoman. But it was the International Surrealist Exhibition that opened in London in 1936 that Bridgwater regarded as “quite a revelation”. Here, she crucially met fellow artists Conroy Maddox and John Melville, and the writer Robert Melville. These three men, all from her home city, were already committed to Surrealism. Having found artistic allies, Bridgwater worked with them to establish the Birmingham Surrealist Group, which was later joined by the younger artists Oscar Mellor and Desmond Morris.

Bridgwater was a leading member of this ambitious circle of artists and writers. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, they acted as a unified collective, organising lectures and debates, to which they also invited Birmingham-based academics and musicians, while working individually on their own Surrealist visions, each developing a unique style.


Selected works


Emmy Bridgwater: The Edge of Beyond | Press Release