Primavera is a fine arts and crafts gallery at 10 King's Parade in Cambridge, England. Henry Rothschild of the Rothschild family founded Primavera in 1945 in Sloane Street, London, in order to promote and retail contemporary British art and craft. The Cambridge branch of Primavera was founded in 1959, when Rothschild took over a shop formerly run by the Cambridge Society of Designer-Craftsmen on King's Parade.
Henry Rothschild first became interested in the crafts when he encountered them in Italy in 1944 while on Army service with the Royal Corps of Signals. On his return to England, he researched British crafts and decided to found Primavera in Sloane Street. Primavera offered stoneware by the Winchcombe and Crowan potteries, tin-glaze from the Cole brothers' Rye Pottery, tableware by Lucie Rie, textiles, furniture and basketwork being exhibited and sold. From 1953, Primavera developed an exhibition programme showing continental ceramics, toys, sculpture and folk art. The reputation of the gallery enabled Rothschild to promote arts education in schools and to support museums and local authorities in putting together art and craft collections.
Following the establishment of Primavera in Cambridge, the interior was refitted by Gordon and Ursula Bowyer and the basement redesigned as a textile showroom. Marion Goodwin and Valerie Webb were appointed as managers and focused on sourcing local crafts. The upstairs gallery space at 10 King's Parade was once home to Charles Lamb, the poet and essayist, along with his sister Mary in 1819.
In 1999 the current owner, Jeremy Waller, purchased the gallery. Jeremy returned to Cambridge (where he was previously a student) after spending many years working and travelling in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Whilst overseas he continued his lifelong study of different cultures and arts practise.
Jeremy Waller’s purchase of Primavera continued the lineage of the two previous owners with a keen interest in raising the profile of UK artists and makers. Since 1999, Primavera has been remodelled to accommodate more work on 3 floors of the King’s Parade site, and opened a sister site at 13 Magdalene Street, which functions as a dedicated exhibition space as well as a studio for an artist-in-residence scheme. As a painter Jeremy has brought an artist’s eye to the space and Primavera now represents more than 500 UK makers, exhibited in a unique way in the Grade II listed galleries on King’s Parade. He and his wife Sheila have also dedicated a significant part of their home and grounds at College Farm, Haddenham (ex-Gonville and Caius College), to housing a permanent collection of work by UK artists.
In 2001 Waller revived the connection between the Fitzwilliam Museum and Primavera by staging a joint exhibition entitled “Ceramics and Glass”. New works by Caiger-Smith and Peter Layton were shown. Primavera has received commissions from Cambridge University to design and craft pieces for colleges, including a pair of wooden candlesticks for St Catharine's College turned by Guy Ravine in 2008. Primavera displays jewellery by the late Barbara Christie.
In 1945 Henry Rothschild opened Primavera at 149 Sloane Street, London. In 1953, Primavera developed an exhibition programme starting with a selection of traditional British baskets held at the Tea Centre.
In 1999, Jeremy Waller purchased Primavera and continued the exhibition programme at 10 and later also 11 King’s Parade.
In 2013, Primavera displayed a new collection of porcelain and ceramic vessels by Tony Laverick
In 2016, painter Stuart Cain was Primavera's artist-in-residence for Cambridge Open Studios.
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