Making a Mark: Dazzling Drawings from the Cottonian Collection

Making a Mark: Dazzling Drawings from the Cottonian Collection

04 Feb 2023 - 04 Jun 2023

Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am-5pm

This exhibition showcases over 40 rare and important drawings dating from the 1600s-1700s from The Box’s Cottonian Collection – arguably Plymouth’s most significant fine art collection, and one which has been designated by the UK Government as being of international importance.

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Free admission. No need to book.

Making a Mark highlights the methods, materials and centuries-old approaches to drawing that still inspire contemporary artists today. It includes a work in chalk and graphite by Rubens (1577-1640) and an ink drawing attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).


The drawings show a range of subjects from epic stories to landscapes to fantasy. Many were created by artists who made drawings to test out ideas for larger, final artworks. Some used drawing to both teach and learn. Others used it as a tool to express their imagination. They were made when traditional materials associated with drawing, such as paper, ink and pencil were more readily available and drawing became an essential tool of artistic practice.

The exhibition also features a selection of plaster casts, ceramics and books and a dedicated space where you can relax, reflect and get creative.