Honouring 55 years of Maggi Hambling at Morley

Maggi Hambling: Teacher – a landmark exhibition coming soon to Morley Gallery – will celebrate 55 years of Maggi’s teaching at Morley College London.

Maggi Hambling CBE is known as one of our greatest living artists, but fewer people are aware that she is also an exceptional teacher. This exhibition, opening in March, will redress the balance.

Students past and present

Image of the front cover the Maggi Hambling: Teacher exhibition catalogue
Front cover of Maggi Hambling: Teacher exhibition catalogue

To mark her decades of work at Morley, Maggi has selected more than thirty of her students past and present for a group exhibition at Morley Gallery.

Maggi Hambling said: “Art is a gift from the gods which must be honoured and offered back up to them. If one has had great teachers oneself, one can, in turn, try to pass something on. My first London show was at Morley in 1973, now it’s the students’ turn… long may the free spirit of the gallery go on!”

As well as works by Maggi herself, the show includes contributions from artists Cecily Brown, Tory Lawrence and Jelly Green, and broadcaster Anneka Rice.

Anneka Rice said: “I adore being part of Maggi’s class. I’ve been in the group for more than a decade. Deep friendships have been made and our weekly meetings are nourishment for the soul.

“When I joined the class, I used any excuse not to paint the head of the model. Most of my paintings started just below the ear and I would cite the canvas not being big enough.

“Maggi would just roar, “Rice! Head!” Eventually I plucked up courage and found that as long as I painted very quickly, showing mistakes, dribbles, and marks, and with my security blanket of turquoise blue, I felt fine about it.

“So Maggi got me drawing heads. Now I have an issue with bodies…”

Artist Jelly Green, who has been mentored by Maggi since she was 16 years old, said: “I attended Maggi’s class for fourteen years, and it undoubtedly changed my life. Being taught by her has been invaluable: she has had an enormous influence on me both as a person and as an artist.

“She taught me to paint the truth. To never choose a subject, but to let the subject choose me. To not care what other people think. To take the work seriously, but not myself. To draw every single day and to make my work my best friend, something I will always be particularly grateful for. She is encouraging, nurturing, loyal, challenging, funny, generous, and above all honest.”

Dr Andrew Gower, Principal of Morley College London, said: “There can be very few people at any centre for adult education who have served the same institution for so long. Maggi’s commitment to teaching art – and to Morley – is exceptional and deserves to be recognised.”

Free to attend

Maggi Hambling: Teacher will open from 6 – 26 March 2024 at Morley Gallery, and is free to attend.

Click here to find out more.