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A gallery through time

Updated: Dec 6, 2019

Greenwich Printmakers is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019. Here are just a few of the key events in our history. For an interview with founder member and gallery manager Elaine Marshall, click here. Our 40 x 40: A Celebration of Print anniversary exhibition runs at the Barbican Library, Level 2, Barbican Centre, London, until December 31.

Turnpin Lane in the early days of Greenwich Printmakers, with the mural painted by founder member Jean Barham

• December 1978: Founder members Elaine Marshall, Jean Barham, Elizabeth Morris, Maureen Black and Susan Sands borrow Joan Pickard’s shop at 7 Turnpin Lane for a weekend’s exhibition.

• January 1979: The founder members get around 20 people together to form a co-operative gallery. They meet at Elizabeth Morris’s house and decide to call the group Greenwich Printmakers Association (GPA). Greenwich Printmakers opens in 7 Turnpin Lane as a permanent gallery, with Joan Pickard as its landlady.

• 1981: Exhibitions in Palmerston, New Zealand, and Springfield, Illinois, USA (exchange exhibition).

• 1982: Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.

• 1984: Exhibition in Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada (exchange exhibition).

Founder member Maureen Black (front) and landlady Joan Pickard (back) at 7 Turnpin Lane

• 1985: An arts and crafts market opens at Greenwich Market. A fruit, veg, meat and fish market had traded on the site since the 19th century, but it had declined. Founder member Elaine Marshall says that when Greenwich Printmakers opened, the market wasn’t there, there wasn’t much going on at the site, and the units around the edge were used for storage.

Turning 1a Greenwich Market into a gallery in 1986. Greenwich Printmakers is still in this location today

• 1986: Greenwich Printmakers moves from 7 Turnpin Lane to 1a Greenwich Market. The new unit is an empty shell, and members work together to turn it into a gallery.

• 1989: Greenwich Printmakers celebrates its tenth birthday by holding a special exhibition at Smith’s Galleries in London, opened by the artist Maggi Hambling.

Maggi Hambling opening the exhibition at Smiths' Galleries in London to celebrate Greenwich Printmakers' tenth birthday

• 1990: Exhibition in Reinickendorf, Berlin, Germany. An exchange exhibition for Russian artists is held at Woodlands Art Gallery.

• 1992: Exhibitions at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Barbican Arts Centre and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.

• 1994: Exhibition at Artists Central Exhibition Halls, Moscow, Russia. A 15th birthday exhibition is held at St John’s Smith Square, London.

• 1997: Greenwich Printmakers is awarded a grant by the Arts Council of England to produce a series of boxed prints to mark the turn of the millennium.

• 1999: A series of four different box sets of prints on the theme of time is produced. The 96 handmade, linen boxes are filled with 12 prints each, with a total of 48 prints across all the sets. Some of the boxes are donated to museums and other institutions. Greenwich Printmakers celebrates its 20th birthday.

Greenwich Printmakers at the National Theatre in London (Photo: David Stone)

• 2009: Greenwich Printmakers celebrates its 30th birthday with exhibitions at the National Theatre and the gallery at the Oxo Tower, London. Plans are proposed to redevelop Greenwich Market and build a boutique hotel on the site. Greenwich Printmakers is offered compensation or relocation. The redevelopment is given the green light in 2011, following an appeal.

• 2014: Architects Barr Gazetas design improvements to Greenwich Market after the boutique hotel redevelopment is scrapped. The plan includes a new market roof, relaying cobbles, and installing a curved, stainless steel pavilion. Greenwich Printmakers is able to stay at 1a Greenwich Market. In 2016, the enhancements to Greenwich Market are completed.

• 2019: Greenwich Printmakers celebrates its 40th anniversary. Exhibitions take place at the Salvation Army International Headquarters, the Watts Contemporary Gallery near Guildford, the Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington, the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, and the Barbican Library, Level 2, Barbican in London.

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