Former Assistant Director of The Art Fund to appear on Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square

  • Published 21 July 2009

Mary Yule, former Assistant Director of independent art charity The Art Fund, has been selected from more than 26,600 applicants to appear on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London on Monday 27 July as part of celebrated artist Antony Gormley's One & Other project.

Mary, who now lives in Forncett St Mary near Norwich, will use her time on the plinth to highlight the work of The Art Fund in saving works of art for the nation, particularly those in the collection of Norwich Castle Museum. She will enact a silent performance on the theme of ‘the ones that didn’t get away‘ and will ‘fish’ for pictures of works of art saved for Norwich, out of a basket. Since 1929, The Art Fund has given £932,788 to help buy a huge range of works for the Castle Museum, from bronze age treasure and medieval altarpieces to paintings by John Crome, Maggi Hambling and Lucien Freud.

She is also using her plinth experience to raise local sponsorship towards a fundraising campaign to fund the creation of a full size photographic facsimile of The Ashwellthorpe Triptych in a reproduction frame, to go into All Saints Church, Ashwellthorpe. The Triptych, which it is thought was originally commissioned for the church, was acquired by the Norwich Castle Museum in 1983 with Art Fund support. It is one of the most beautiful works in the Museum’s collection, as a devotional work of great local interest, and an early example of the cultural links between Norfolk and the Low Countries.

Mary Yule commented: "I’m very excited at the idea of becoming a living artwork and to celebrating The Art Fund in Norfolk on London’s grandest plinth. The Art Fund believes that art has the power to transform people’s lives, and that everyone should have the opportunity to experience great art at first hand, and Antony Gormley’s public sculpture reflects similar values, particularly his Angel of the North. And as the plinth stands in front of the National Gallery, which contains many masterpieces that wouldn’t be there without The Art Fund, it seems like just the right place to highlight this great cause!"

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund said: "I’m delighted that Mary has chosen to highlight the work of The Art Fund during her time on the Fourth Plinth in such an imaginative way. Mary has been doing some fantastic work for us in Norfolk since she joined our Regional Volunteers in 2008 after her long service as our Director of Grants. We wish her every success with her appearance in Trafalgar Square."

Mary Yule will appear on the Fourth Plinth between 2AM and 3AM on Monday 27 July. She moved to Norfolk in 2007 following her retirement as Assistant Director and Director of Grants at The Art Fund in 2006; in addition to her work for The Art Fund, she also sits on the Committee of the Norfolk Contemporary Art Society. A freelance NADFAS lecturer on contemporary sculpture, she is also on the Arts Advisory Panel at St Martin-in-the-Fields. Mary Yule is one of three participants from Norfolk who have been chosen for the month of July.

The project, which is commissioned by the Mayor of London with funds from the Arts Council, and produced in partnership with Sky Arts, will see a different person take their place on the Fourth Plinth every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days. It runs from Monday 6 July until 14 October 2009. Applications are still open and can be made at


Notes to Editors

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 £1 million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; 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

The Ashwellthorpe Triptych, Master of the Magdalen Legend, c1519, oil on panel

The Ashwellthorpe Triptych was acquired by the Norwich Castle Museum in 1983 with Art Fund support (cost £41,024, grant £10,256). It was one of the highlights of the exhibition Gothic: Art for England 1400-1547 at the V&A in 2003.

The centre panel of the Triptych depicts the Seven Sorrows on the Virgin, and the wings contain portraits of the donors, Christopher Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe and his wife Catherine van Assche with their name-saints and armorial bearings. Christopher Knyvett was closely associated with the court at Brussels, possibly as an emissary of Henry VIII, and he commissioned the Triptych from the Flemish artist either for the family residence at Ashwellthorpe, or more probably the family chapel attached to the parish church of All Saints, Ashwellthorpe. An integral part of the project is the interpretation of the Triptych to the local community and to children in particular. A display panel will provide information about the history of the Triptych, and an education resource pack will be available for schools. The project has the enthusiastic support of the Rector, and the Castle Museum.