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National treasures from UK’s greatest collections will travel to local museums in 2021

From the glittering Galloway Hoard of treasure to an exceptional portrait of Richard III and works by Antony Gormley and Lucian Freud, world-class art and objects from national collections will be shared with smaller museums nationwide this year through the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

Generously supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund launched in 2017 to empower smaller museums to borrow major works from the national collections. The first UK-wide grant programme of its kind, this scheme widens access to objects from major collections for audiences across the country.

In 2021, 18 exhibitions will open around the UK with support through the Weston Loan Programme, representing funding of £320,000. They will bring fascinating stories to local communities, from the spectacular to the tragic.

Some of the loans supported will allow treasures to travel to places across the UK with which they are most closely associated. This is the case of the Galloway Hoard, the richest collection of rare Viking-age objects ever found in the UK, which will be exhibited near the site of its discovery at Kirkcudbright Galleries, loaned from National Museums Scotland.

At Yorkshire Museum, the National Portrait Gallery’s world-famous 16th century portrait of Richard III will be shown in an exhibition telling the story of his reign, while Field for the British Isles (1993) by Antony Gormley, which won the artist the Turner Prize, will be displayed at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, on loan from the Arts Council Collection. Gormley’s work comprises 40,000 unique clay figures, and has not been on view in the north east of England since 1996.

The poignant Lampedusa Cross will be loaned by the British Museum to Hastings Museum for an exhibition co-curated with local migrants. The cross is made from two pieces of a boat that was wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, in 2013, causing the deaths of 311 refugees. Over the Top (1918) by John Nash, which captures the artist’s experience of trench warfare, will be featured in Towner Eastbourne as part of the most comprehensive exhibition of Nash’s work in over 50 years.

Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: 'This programme empowers smaller museums to bring fascinating art and objects to local audiences, where they can be experienced through the lens of regional history and heritage. We are delighted to support these important exhibitions this year, when we are all craving cultural experiences more than ever.'

The 18 exhibitions scheduled to open in 2021, supported through the Weston Loan Programme, include:

  • DANAD: Mavericks of Marden Hill at Hertford Museum, Spring 2021
  • Portrayals at Banbury Museum, Spring 2021
  • At the Water’s Edge at Elgin Museum, 27th March - 30th October 2021
  • MacDonald Sisters at Bewdley Museum, 17th April to 18th July 2021
  • Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing, at Reading Museum, Spring 2021
  • John Nash: The Landscape of Love and Solace, at Towner Eastbourne, 1 May - 26 September 2021, touring to Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park from 23 Oct 2021 to 2 January 2022
  • Ben Nicholson: From the Studio at Pallant House, 26 June – 24 October 2021
  • Bracing Air, Abundant Amusements: The travel posters of Charles Pears, at Pontefract Museum, 22 May 2021- 25 February 2022
  • Landscape Portrait: Now and Then, at Hestercombe Gallery, Spring 2021
  • An Unholy Trinity: Lucian Freud, John Minton and Adrian Ryan at Victoria Art Gallery, 10 July – 19 September 2021 and Falmouth Art Gallery, 25 September – 23 November 2021
  • Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles at National Glass Centre, Sunderland, July – September 2021
  • The Galloway Hoard at Kirkcudbright Galleries, 7 August 2021 – 2 May 2022
  • Laura Knight – A Celebration at Penlee House and Gallery, 28 April – 11 September 2021
  • Richard III: Coming Home at Yorkshire Museum, Summer 2021
  • Centuries in the making at Compton Verney, September 2021 to February 2022
  • A British Museum Spotlight Loan, Crossings: community and refuge at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, 10 September – 5 December 2021
  • Thomas Bateman at Museums Sheffield, 24 September 2021 – 20 February 2022
  • Eric Ravilious: Downland Man at Wiltshire Museum, 25 September 2021 30 January 2022
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