Parson’s Pleasure and the Ponds

Duncan Montgomery & George Townsend
Highgate Gallery
07 - 20 Jun 2024

Parson’s Pleasure: wood engraving 10x7cm. © Duncan Montgomery 2022.
All rights reserved.

Gallery times: Wednesdays to Fridays 13:00-17:00,
Saturdays 11:00-16:00, Sundays 11:00-17:00,
Mondays & Tuesdays Closed
Private View: Friday 07 June 2024 18:00-20:30

Wood engraver’s debut solo exhibition contemplates historic Oxford and Highgate bathing places.

The North Wall Arts Centre and Highgate Gallery announce the forthcoming exhibition Parson’s Pleasure and the Ponds  – the debut solo show of printmaker Duncan Montgomery. Travelling between Oxford and Highgate, the exhibition presents a new series of wood engravings alongside a background of historical materials curated  by cultural historian George Townsend.

Montgomery’s figures and riverscapes draw on classical statuary, found photography, and in situ life modelling, to create atmospheres of quiet and disquiet, lost and in-between time. Textures of muscle, skin and hair emerge amid corrugated metal, polished marble and crumbling brick, wind-moved leaves and the wavering image-within-an-image of open water.

Recovering a visual history of freshwater bathing in the UK, the exhibition incorporates historical text and images to reflect especially on: Parson’s Pleasure, an Oxford river bathing place demolished in 1992 and the focus of Townsend’s 2022 PHD; and the ponds used for bathing on Hampstead Heath over the past several centuries and still in use today.

The North Wall Arts Centre is an award-winning theatre and gallery in Summertown, Oxford, built on the site of a Victorian swimming pool. The Highgate Gallery is a part of the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution, which has been promoting discussion, debate and life-long learning since 1839.

For further information contact:

George Townsend

Duncan Montgomery

The Exhibition co-ordinator: Trisha Dale