Art Fund Director speaks at Manchester City Art Gallery

  • 9 October 2007

The Art Fund's Director, David Barrie has lectured at an exhibition to mark the largest ever UK art exhibition.

David Barrie spoke at Manchester City Art Gallery where an exhibition is being held to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the largest ever art exhibition in the UK, which opened in Manchester in 1857. The ‘Art Treasures of the United Kingdom’ exhibition was held at Old Trafford and featured a staggering 16,000 exhibits. It attracted over 1.3 million visitors, including Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens.

Maverick art critic John Ruskin was invited to lecture at the exhibition. He berated the wealthy burgers of Manchester about valuing art for its financial worth rather than its real worth to people.   He proposed that there should be a ‘national society’ to ‘purchase pictures for the various galleries in our great cities’. Almost 50 years later Ruskin’s dream was realised when The Art Fund was formed.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, and the moment when the idea for The Art Fund began, David Barrie spoke about the charity’s work over the 100 years after it was set up.

Click here to read David Barrie’s comment piece, as featured on The Guardian’s website – Guardian Unlimited