Braintree District Museum holds a diverse and varied range of different artworks and paintings. Two strengths of the Museum’s art collection are the Old Iron portraits commissioned by Crittall Manufacturing Company between 1926 – 1928 and the murals in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall Centre.
Braintree District Museum also holds a large and varied collection of local artist Cyril Hamersma.
Hamersma (1919 -1994) was a local contemporary artist that wanted everyone to experience the wonders of the ordinary world. The museum is fortunate to hold a varied collection of his 2D artworks including a significant amount of Hamersma’s squircles.
As an abstract specialist Hamersma understood the value art holds in touching peoples’ awareness. Through his art Hamersma would provoke enlightenment, pleasure and emotion for viewers and convey his personal messages of social, political and satirical comments.
‘Of course some people don’t understand my paintings … But you don’t change your style of painting just because of that. Painting is a way of life. When you paint a picture it contains the whole conception of life’ Hamersma 1963.
During his lifetime Hamersma, his wife and four daughters, moved a considerable amount but were always drawn back to Braintree where he and his wife are now buried. Hamersma loved painting and sketching scenes of fields on his walks around Essex, in particular prints of Bocking Mill.
Hamersma has become particularly famous for his dramatic scenes of his time as a Prisoner of War through exhibitions in the Imperial War Museum, and also for the invention of the ‘Squircle’. A spiders cobweb was the initial inspiration, a simple but complex pattern of moveable and elastic threads that Hamersma began to see as segmented spaces that formed a single cell form; the Squircle. Braintree District Museum holds a significant collection of this squircle work
Over his lifetime Hamersma’s work was put into exhibitions across England, he even made it into local and national newspapers, appeared on local television and in a short film on Channel 4 talking about his passion for art. Hamersma always envisaged a Squircle Museum in Braintree devoted to Squirclism and designed to enrich people’s lives and awaken dormant sensibility.