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Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery launches its Nativity Art Trail on Friday 30th November

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery launches its Nativity Art Trail on Friday 30th November

26th November 2012

From a 16th-century enamel to Pre-Raphaelite favourites, the Nativity Art Trail at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery offers the chance to view the Christmas Story through 500 years of art.

A stained glass window made for the Methodist Chapel in Cradley Heath begins the trail in the Industrial Gallery. Peace and Goodwill (1922) by Henry Payne is a memorial to the men of the congregation who served and died in the First World War. The window shows the angels appearing to the shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus.  

The Nativity Art Trail is an annual event at the Museum & Art Gallery and will be launched by the Right Rev. David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev. Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham at 2pm on the afternoon of Friday, 30th November. School choirs from Christ the King Catholic Primary School and St John’s Church of England Primary School will sing throughout the afternoon as part of the event. All will be welcomed this year by Professor Ann Sumner, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust. 

Now in its eighth year, the trail is free to view and open to the public from 30 November – 6 January. It features favourites such as The Star of Bethlehem by Edward Burne-Jones, which depicts the star that guided the three wise men or Kings of the Christmas story to the baby Jesus. In Burne-Jones' work it is represented as a shining light held in the hands of an angel. 

The Nativity, by an unknown 16th century artist is the earliest enamel in Birmingham Museums’ collection. It may have been made as a focus for private prayer and the piece reduces the Nativity scene to its essential elements – the Holy Family and the star that led the Magi to the stable. 

The Birmingham School of Art is also represented in the trail. Smethwick stained-glass designer and painter Florence Camm’s Design for a Reredos (1923) shows Mary and the baby Jesus surrounded by child angels and Camm used local children as models. Margaret Rope was a stained-glass artist who became a Carmelite nun after her period of study at the School. Her Design for a Christmas Card  was made for her convent during the Second World War and shows a contemporary soldier, sailor and airman approaching the stable at Bethlehem and angels watching over a sky filled with planes and searchlights. 

In addition to the free Nativity Art Trail, you can also visit Father Christmas in his grotto at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. For £3 per child you can take photographs and you’ll receive a small gift. 

To find out more about the Nativity Trail, dates and times for visiting Father Christmas and all other Christmas activity at Birmingham Museums visit the What's On page.


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