The Art Fund helps Tullie House acquire Keith Tyson Nature Painting

A monumental new work, Nature Painting by Turner Prize-winning Cumbrian artist Keith Tyson, has been purchased for Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle with help from a £25,000 grant from The Art Fund. The work goes on display at the museum's Millennium Gallery on 7 April.

The acquisition of Nature Painting was made possible through the generous support of Keith Tyson, a £25,000 grant from The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, and £25,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. Additional support came from Arts Council England North West through Grants for the Arts, Northern Rock Foundation and the Friends of Tullie House.

This stunning painting, which measures almost two metres square, has been selected from a major series of work produced by Keith Tyson since 2006. Over twenty Nature Paintings were shown at Tullie House last year in the highly successful exhibition of the same name; an exhibition which attracted over 6000 visitors as well as rave reviews including “Utterly spectacular”, “Gorgeous, fascinating, mouth-watering art” and “Artistic genius. Out of this world. The best collection I have ever seen.”

The Nature Painting on show in Tullie House’s Millennium Gallery has never before been exhibited. Its forms and colours have been determined by the reactions between specially mixed paints and chemicals, poured at different angles and temperatures onto aluminium. In producing the Nature Paintings series, Tyson has departed from traditional methods of representing nature in art by allowing nature itself, rather than the artist’s hand, to guide the development of the work. The series makes visual allusions to the natural world including geological strata, cell formations and the cosmos. It illustrates Tyson’s interest in the random nature of our universe, and the beauty revealed when nature is allowed to return to itself.

Born in Ulverston on the edge of the Lake District National Park, Tyson attributes his love of the natural world to his Cumbrian upbringing and chose Cumbria as the backdrop to his first exhibition of Nature Paintings in the UK. In the context of Tullie House and Cumbria, the work makes reference to the history of landscape painting in the region and relates to the museum’s collections of fine art and natural sciences.

Keith Tyson is the foremost living artist to have emerged from Cumbria. This work represents a significant addition to Tullie House’s permanent fine art collection and, it is hoped, will be enjoyed by visitors to the museum over many generations to come. David Barrie, Director of the Art Fund said:

“This wonderfully dramatic, large-scale work is a feast for the eyes and a lively addition to the collections at Tullie House. At The Art Fund we strive to make great art available to people all over the UK, so we are particularly pleased to have helped secure this brand new painting by one of Cumbria’s leading artists for the people of Carlisle.”

Keith Tyson said:

"It's great to give something back to the area that was so formative in my youth. And to see the local community showing such an interest in contemporary art. I'm happy that such an important piece of my work has found a permanent home in Tullie House, which in my early years as an artist inspired and underpinned my creative thinking."

Hilary Wade, Arts & Museums Manager said of the new acquisition:

"We are delighted to be acquiring Keith Tyson's Nature Painting for the Tullie House collections and are grateful to our funders for their support in purchasing this outstanding work. I know it will be a painting that will be appreciated and enjoyed by the visitors to the museum."

Image: Keith Tyson, Nature Painting, 2008
Mixed Media on aluminium, 1980 x 1980 mm
Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery

For visuals or for further information contact Judith Streatfeild on 01228 618743 / e-mail:

Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery
Castle Street, Carlisle, CA3 8TP
T: 01228 618718
Notes to the Editors

Press Preview
Members of the press are invited to preview Tullie House’s new acquisition between 1pm – 2pm on Monday 6 April. Tullie House curators will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

About the Artist
Keith Tyson was born in Ulverston in 1969. He studied at Barrow-in-Furness College of Engineering, Carlisle College of Art and at the University of Brighton. His first major solo exhibition, From the Artmachine, was at the Anthony Reynolds Gallery in 1995 and, since then, he has shown across Europe and the USA. He exhibited a series of Studio Wall Drawings and The Thinker (After Rodin), at the 2001 Venice Biennale. The Thinker, a monolithic hexagonal structure, contained a powerful bank of computers that generated its own universe; the only clue to this activity an electronic hum. It was this exhibition and those at the South London Gallery and Kunsthalle Zürich that led the artist to winning the Turner Prize in 2002. Tyson’s work featured in Turner Prize: A Retrospective in 2007 at London’s Tate Britain, which travelled to the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo from April-July 2008. Other recent projects include Large Field Array, an installation that explores, on a spectacular scale, the interconnectivity of things. Large Field Array opened in 2006 at the Louisiana Museum, Humblebeck, Denmark and subsequently toured to the De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands and to PaceWildenstein in New York. In 2005, Tyson was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Brighton. In the UK his work is included in the Tate Collection, the Arts Council Collection, the Henry Moore Institute (Leeds) and the South London Gallery. His work is also included in many important public and private collections internationally.

About the Collection
Tullie House Museum has been established since 1893. Owned and managed by Carlisle City Council, the museum houses collections of fine and decorative arts, social history, archaeology and natural history. The fine art collection consists of 4,400 works by mainly British artists dating from 1650 to the present day. Cumbrian artists and the Cumbrian landscape are well represented by 900 works dating from the 18th century to the present day. We have a strong collection of works in a variety of media from the 20th and 21st centuries. Keith Tyson’s Nature Painting will complement and add to this important area of the art collections. This acquisition also presents a unique opportunity for Tullie House to re-assert its interest in collecting contemporary art – especially in relation to Cumbria. Tullie House first began collecting contemporary art in 1933. The City of Carlisle took a bold step by setting up a Purchase Scheme that ran until 1975. London-based advisors purchased contemporary art with just £100 per annum at first. Over the years, they assembled some two hundred works, including many by nationally important British artists. For details about the collection, see

About the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund
The MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund is a government fund, established at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in 1881 as part of its nationwide work. The annual grants budget, currently £1,000,000, is provided by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). The Fund supports the acquisition of objects relating to the arts, literature and history by regional museums, record offices and specialist libraries in England and Wales. Each year it considers some 300 applications and in 2007-08 awarded grants to 100 organisations, enabling acquisitions of over £4 million to go ahead.

About the Art Fund
The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London in February 2009 with a grant of £1000,000; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTISTS ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1000,000; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

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