New funding sees art and treasures shared across the UK

The first recipients of the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund have been announced, with works from national collections to be shared with museums across the country.

The Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund announced today the first recipients of its £750,000 funding and training programme, the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund, which supports the wider sharing of national collections.

Among the works to go on loan as part of the programme are self-portraits by Lucian Freud, Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, which will go to Rugby Art Gallery & Museum from the National Portrait Gallery in response to the museum’s visitors wanting to learn more about artists in its collection. You can follow this incredible journey in the video above.

The Becket Casket will be loaned by the V&A to Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, reuniting it with the city’s historical treasures in time for the 900th anniversary of Peterborough Cathedral, which houses the relics of former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket.

Elsewhere, Rembrandt’s An Elderly Man as Saint Paul (1659) and Jan Steen’s Skittle Players Outside an Inn (1660-63) are to be lent by the National Gallery to Cannon Hall Museum, Park and Gardens, Barnsley.

Specifically designed to directly fund and empower regional and smaller local authority museums to borrow major works or collections of art from the UK’s national museums and galleries, the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund aims to widen access to works from the national collections for audiences across the UK, strengthen the skills of museum professionals and distribute resources.

In 2018, the programme is distributing £200,000 in its first year of funding, plus a training programme to support museums. The loans will go on display throughout the year.

The 2018 exhibitions for The Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund include:

Hawick Museum and Montrose Museum and Art Gallery are also year one recipients and will realise exhibitions in Spring 2019.

National museums and galleries participating include: Arts Council Collection, British Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, National Museums Scotland and the V&A.

‘We have been blown away by the ambition and creativity of museums from Hastings to Hawick,’ said Philippa Charles, Garfield Weston Foundation director. ‘Some of the most talented curators in the UK have imagined the art, objects and exhibitions that promise to transform the experiences of their audiences. Seeing these come to life across the UK in 2018 is the best possible way of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Garfield Weston Foundation.’

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, added: ‘We knew the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund addressed a vital need: our national museums want to widen access to the collections they hold, and institutions around the UK want to share these works with their audiences. The response has been overwhelming. We’re pleased to provide the means to enable the greater sharing of art, but, just as importantly, to help empower museums to realise their ambitions.’

The first 13 recipients represent year one of a three-year programme. Applications for year two will open in summer 2018 with recipients announced later in the year.

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