Spotlight On: Anna Gillespie

29th April 2021 / Museum, Museum blog

Our Spotlight On blogs and vlogs introduce thirteen of the artists featured in exhibition ‘Spotlight On: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection of Chippenham Museum’.  The second in a series, the exhibition presents 40 works acquired in the last five years to ensure our collection better represents North Wiltshire’s creativity, with the majority of works donated by the artists.

Please introduce yourself, what is your name, where are you based, what medium/style do you work in?

My name is Anna Gillespie and I am a figurative sculptor working in a variety of materials including plaster, wax, bronze and found objects.  I have a studio at the old Slaughterford paper mill and live nearby outside the village of Colerne.  My main fascination is with the human form, but I often combine this with natural forms such as tree mast and to urban ‘forms’ such as chairs, windows and boots.

Why did you want to be involved with this project?

I wanted to become involved in this project because as I grow older I am seeking more and different ways to collaborate with other artists and arts organizers.  Becoming part of the Chippenham Museum collection emerged out of a friendship with sculptor Sarah Purvey who has been deeply involved in its inception, but it is also a way of formally connecting to other local artists and acknowledging both the heritage of arts in this area and its future.

How did you decide which piece to donate to the museum and can you tell us more about it?

I decided to donate this piece (Still:There) because it is one of my favorite pieces, and represents an early stage in an important development of my work which is hollowness, or lack of pretense of solidity.  It is also an early example of my now frequent combination of rough or loose plasterwork with the more accurate reproduction of the beauty of the human body through life cast elements.  I’m hoping that these elements in particular will be a ‘way in’ to the sculpture for many visitors to the museum.

Still:There, plaster and mixed media

Why do you think having public access to local art is so important, such as through this new collection being created at Chippenham Museum?

Making three dimensional objects, sculpturing little figures to be more accurate, was an important part of my childhood and I hope that by seeing ‘locally made’ ‘objects’ such as these children may be inspired to think that they too can start making – perhaps more so than if they see artworks in the media or on trips to London where it may all seem a bit remote and impossible to conceive of doing something oneself.   Also, as we start to consider the environmental impact of all travel it is important that we develop all sorts of resources at a regional and local level to make life ‘where we are’ more fulfilling.

Why do you think North Wiltshire has such a creative culture?

As a newcomer to North Wiltshire I’m afraid I can’t say why a creative culture has emerged.  I am just aware that there is a tradition here.  Perhaps that is what draws more creative makers in….


‘Spotlight On: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection of Chippenham Museum’ is free to visit 17 May – 19 June. Open Monday – Saturday with two ways to visit:  drop in 10am – 1pm or book a free Private View for up to six people or two households at 1pm, 2pm or 3pm. 


> Visit Chippenham Museum

> View all artist blogs

> Exhibition Catalogue (£5) available in the museum shop and online