University of Oxford - St Hilda's College acquisitions

Francesca Mollett, Peter Matthews and Diane Chappalley

We are thrilled to announce that Informality has recently consulted the University of Oxford, St Hilda’s college on a growing collection of contemporary art for a newly refurbished building.


We are delighted to share that Peter Matthews, Francesca Mollett and Diane Chappalley’s works have been acquired by the university.


About the works


Peter Matthews 

‘Emerge’ 2020

Oil, acrylic, enamel, sand, stones, a grass reed, flower petals, cuttlefish bone, found objects and thread on canvases from the Atlantic coast of Cornwall, England

190 x 180 cm


“I am not sure what led me to make these paintings. I did not see them coming. I am not sure words can even come close to expressing the rationale, or the need to make them when I did in early July. But I know I had to make them, and that by going through the painting process, in painting’s own unique time, something was purged and something let go of, and in by letting go, a new perspective on life was reached. The whole emotional journey was one motivated by instinct. I felt a lot of empathy for the mediums and materials. Painted over several days in the elements, starting with blackening out 6 canvases with oil paint and ink, from dawn to dusk, through rain and sun, I came through the paintings using only white paint. Along the journey of painting, found objects were brought into the painting. I was simply drawn to their animistic characteristics, the curiosity to make something new, to reach out and touch the world. We got through it.”

Francesca Mollett

‘Wild Shade’ 2021

​​Oil and acrylic on calico

130 x 200 cm


Wild Shade is a painting that originates from time spent by a network of wells in Penwith, Cornwall, England. The land of Penwith is both sacred and geologically exploited, large quantities of copper and tin were once mined, and the co-existence of underground water with metal deposits made wells and springs ‘holy’ and ‘healing’. 


The journey to the site where the painting was made holds its own experience, as the artist describes walking through passages steeped in ancient history. Mollett navigates by boulder, by tree, looking for signs, harnessing the intricacies of the landscape. The land here is now hollow. Underneath the skin of the surface are caverns. Tunnels were once dug to reach the most valuable ore under the sea. Miners were paid by what they found rather than how deep they went down. West Penwith is described as one of the hottest places in underground Europe, where frequencies of ‘Earth Energy’ conducted by the depth of the raft of granite emit from the core. In the words of the artist, “An energy is a force of expression. The water produces an effect on the surroundings, both body and land express a frequency.” 


Diane Chappalley

‘The space In Between’ 2020

Oil on flax

90 x 120 cm


“My paintings investigate the relationship that humans have with the environment; an attempt to articulate our fragility, and that of the world we inhabit. 


I painted ‘The Space in Between’ in 2020, the year when the Covid-19 pandemic was spreading in Europe. At that time, I was thinking about our collective grief. What can be found in that empty space of wonder and sorrow. 


Here, flowers are real world manifestations of human souls; shortening the gap between us and them, filling the heavy silence. In their state of becoming, about to either fade or bloom, they reflect what once was, what is, and what can become: A bridging of the space in between life and death.”




September 28, 2021