John Austin, fine art dealer and son of tennis legend Henry ‘Bunny’ Austin, is coming to the Barber Institute of Fine Arts to share fond memories of his father and what it was like growing up in the world of international tennis. John will also talk about his mother, film-star Phyllis Konstam, who appeared in several films between 1928–1964, including four directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Together, Bunny Austin and Phyllis Konstam were one of the celebritycouples of the age. Austin played tennis with Charlie Chaplin, was a friend of Daphne du Maurier and met both Queen Mary and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Remembered as the first tennis player to wear shorts, Bunny Austin was also the last British player to reach the final of the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon in 1938.
The University of Birmingham-based gallery’scurrent exhibition Court on Canvas: Tennis in Art features several depictions of Austin, including a studio portrait by Bassano and two paintings by Polish artist Alfred Wolmark. You can also see Bunny Austin’s Streamline tennisracquet in the exhibition’s adjacent satellite show A Gem of a Game: The Roots of Lawn Tennis in the West Midlands.
John Austin will be in conversation with Professor Ann Sumer, the Director of the Barber Institute, curator of Court on Canvas – and a lifelong lover of tennis.
In Conversation with John Austinis one of many events relating to Courton Canvas, the first ever exhibition to explore the subject of lawn tennis in art. For a full programme of associated events please visit the Barber’swebsite.
Courton Canvas: Tennis in Art runs until 18 September 2011. A Gem of a Game: The Roots of Lawn Tennis in the West Midlands runs until 29 August.
Entry to both exhibitions and the permanent collection is FREE.