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Visual art has been at the heart of the Aldeburgh Festival since its inception. It was the desire of Britten and Pears that it would play a part alongside the music, hence the full title of The Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts. From the stage sets, to the spaces in and around Snape Maltings, art has been married to the musical experience.
Britten and chiefly Pears collected artwork, living with it in The Red House and putting it into exhibitions in Aldeburgh. They were close friends with John Piper, Sidney Nolan and many others, and at times sold paintings to pay for students at Aldeburgh. Now their collection is preserved at the Red House by the Britten-Pears Foundation.
Ever since artists have exhibited and been commissioned to exhibit at Snape, notably pieces by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore and Sarah Lucas.
The visual arts legacy continues and it’s not just the international stars of the musical world that wow audiences. From the new generation showcased in this year’s SNAP exhibition to the artists who came before, their names form a roll call of creative energy and vitality: John Piper, Howard Hodgkin, Maggi Hambling, Alison Wilding, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, Don Brown and Juergen Teller amongst many others.