Leighton House and V&A await Art Fund Prize judges' visits

  • 31 March 2011

Next week, Michael Portillo and his fellow Art Fund Prize judges will visit two London museums which are long listed for the prestigious £100,000 Art Fund Prize.

On Wednesday 6 April the Art Fund Prize judges will visit Leighton House in Holland Park, which has just undergone a major refurbishment and restoration. The following day they’ll pay a visit to the Ceramics Study Galleries at the V&A, a major redesign of the museum’s world-renowned ceramics collection, completed in 2009. Both projects are long listed for the Art Fund Prize for ‘Museum of the Year’.

Leighton House and the V&A are two of three London museums on this year’s long list. The British Museum is also long listed for it’s A History of the World Project.

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Here are some comments in support of Leighton House:

“Stepping into Leighton House Museum is like stepping back in time. Lots of other heritage venues try to do this - and do it very well - but there's a certain special something about this place which feels like we really have got into a time machine and travelled back.”
Steve Slack, London

“It is one of the best small museums in the UK. To enter it is not only to step into Leighton's home, but the Victorian art world. It is both a public and private space and immensely evocative of the period. The recent restoration was carried out with deep knowledge, care and sensitivity. The rehang of the paintings, the re arrangement of the studio and the brilliance of the Arab hall are particular triumphs. It works so well as a house, a museum and a venue for concerts, lectures and parties. It is a living place.”
Caroline Hughesdunant, London

Comments in support of the V&A’s Ceramics Study Galleries include:

“I love the space and light of the galleries. The collection of ceramics displayed on open storage shelves is s good idea as well as accenting new sculptural ceramic pieces in the round mezzanine room. Having a functioning area for demonstrations, workshops and an artist in residence enhances the appeal.”
Melissa Atkinson, London

“The new V & A Ceramics Study Gallery is one of a kind, particularly in its location being with one of the most wonderful, extensive and interesting ceramics collections in the world. This is a place where you can see the best in both contemporary, and historic. The Study Gallery gives life to these ceramics and puts them into context for everyone from young children who have not ever handled clay to adults who actually collect it. The displays also expose the alchemy inherent in the world of ceramics by making things very visible like the sectioned casting moulds, the variety of different clays, different making methods and a real studio in action.”
Annie Flitcroft, Portsmouth

The long list comprises ten museums and galleries in total.

Michael Portillo and the judges are visiting all ten before coming up with a short list of four in May. Michael will announce the short list live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row on Thursday 19 May.

The Art Fund Prize winner will be announced on 15 June at a Prize ceremony at Tate Britain. A jewel in the UK’s crown of cultural institutions, it is the ideal platform from which to announce who will be crowned the 2011 ‘Museum of the Year’.