Sixth round of Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund recipients announced

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Sixth round of Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund recipients announced
John Constable, Weymouth Bay. Oil sketch of a costal landscape, England, 19th century.

LONDON.- Exquisite drawings and watercolours by the Pre-Raphaelites, Antony Gormley’s The Brick Man, important archival material about Thomas Hardy and costume designs by Isabel Rawsthorne are among the exciting items being lent in this latest round of forthcoming exhibitions supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

These will go to the sixth round of successful applicants to the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund announced today, which are: Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village in Compton, the Wessex Museums Trust and Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham. A total of £105,811 has been awarded in this round, bringing the total so far to almost £1 million across 65 organisations since the scheme began in 2017.

Thirteen striking costume designs by artist Isabel Rawsthorne for the 1953 Royal Opera House production of Strauss’ opera Elektra, have never been seen beyond the Royal Opera House. The designs will go on display in May at The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, alongside two further Rawsthorne paintings and Giacometti’s sculpture, Head of Isabel II, from the Sainsbury Centre. The grant from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund covers the special conservation, mounting work and transport required to make these loans possible.

Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the scheme is the first UK-wide grant programme designed to directly fund and empower smaller museums to borrow outstanding works from national or major lending museums and galleries.

Jenny Waldman said, ‘We are delighted that the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund continues to provide smaller museums with the means to borrow nationally significant works from some of the UK’s greatest collections. Making inspiring connections and deepening long-term relationships with lending institutions will be increasingly important as we navigate the pandemic.’

Sophia Weston, Trustee of Garfield Weston Foundation said, ‘Once again, ambitious loans will go to venues across the UK thanks to the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. We are thrilled to see the variety of works and archival materials that will be displayed at local museums. These works will shed new light on existing collections and provide inspiration for visitors.’

Art Fund also called today for the UK’s museums and galleries to note the timing for the next (seventh) round of Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Applications will open in June with full details to be announced. Ambitious, exciting and high-profile loan projects that have the potential to be genuinely transformative for the borrowing museum or gallery are particularly encouraged.

The scheme, which has dramatically boosted visitor numbers to smaller institutions - by an average of 40% pre-pandemic - has significantly widened the lending pool of objects from major collections. Weston Loan Programme support has helped dozens of museums realise exhibitions with funding for transportation, conservation and training. It has raised the profile of many of the borrowing institutions and provided an opportunity for museum teams to develop new skills that will enable ever more ambitious exhibitions in the future. Visitors to the shows have often commented on the importance of seeing works of national significance in their local settings.

Details of this round of grant recipients is as follows:

• Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village in Compton for Pre-Raphaelite Treasures: Drawings and Watercolours from the Ashmolean Museum, from 8 March to 12 June 2022, with works from the Ashmolean’s world-class collection illuminating George Frederic Watts’s deep connection to this group of artists.

• Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham, North Wales for Tales from Terracottapolis, from 19 March to 11 June 2022, with artefacts and artworks from Leeds Museums & Galleries, Kate MacGarry gallery and the Henry Moore Institute.

• The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden for The Many Sides of Isabel Rawsthorne, from 7 May to 30 October 2022, contextualising the gallery’s own holding of Rawsthorne’s pictures with costume designs from the Royal Opera House Collection, Covent Garden and two further Rawsthorne paintings, together with Giacometti’s sculpture, Head of Isabel II, from the Sainsbury Centre.

• Wessex Museums Trust will present Hardy’s Wessex from 28 May to 30 October 2022, a multi-site exhibition featuring personal objects from Thomas Hardy, some of which have never been on public display before, and including loans from the British Library, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the V&A.

• Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum for Pre-Raphaelite Visionaries, from 13 May to 18 September 2022, which will invite visitors to rediscover a host of artists seen as Pre-Raphaelite Revivalists working at the turn of the twentieth century.

• Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft for Shōji Hamada: A Japanese Potter in Ditchling, from October 2022, with illuminating items from Stoke Potteries, Aberystwyth University Ceramics Collection, Southampton City Art Gallery and Winchcombe Archive, among others.

In 2021, 18 exhibitions were presented as part of the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Works were lent to, among others: Freud, Minton, Ryan: unholy trinity at Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery; an exhibition on Richard III at Yorkshire Museum and Gardens; Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland; Laura Knight: A Celebration at Penlee House Gallery and Museums; and an exhibition of the work of Ben Nicholson at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester.

A further two rounds of the programme are planned across this year and next.

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