How 30 years of Art Fund support has helped Wiltshire Museum tell the county's story
A new exhibition opening this week at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes brings together a remarkable range of exhibits that it has acquired with the help from Art Fund - the national fund raising charity for art.
The exhibition will run from May 12 to June 24 and is dedicated to the memory of Dr Paul Robinson who was the Museum's curator for more than 20 years and who died last year aged 74. He started at the Museum as assistant curator in 1974 and became its curator in 1985.
Lisa Brown is Curator at Wiltshire Museum: "This exhibition, in memory of Dr Paul Robinson, is a tribute to a wonderful Curator who was passionate about the County, and through working closely with Art Fund, was able to purchase many treasures for the Museum - enabling us to continue to tell Wiltshire's story."
Among the important items in the exhibition that were acquired with Art Fund assistance is the famous Stanchester Hoard of gold and silver Roman coins, discovered at Wilcot in 2000 by a 14 year-old schoolboy from Marlborough. With it will be the newly reconstructed Alice Holt pottery flagon in which the hoard was found.
The hoard of 1,166 coins dating from 307-406 AD was discovered in a field by John and David Philpotts using metal detectors. It was named after the nearby Stanchester Villa - a Roman villa which was likely to have been associated with the hoard.
Many of the coins had not been in circulation and are in mint condition. It was declared treasure trove and the Museum acquired it for £50,000 - with Art Fund help.
Highlights from the exhibition include the Museum's earliest depiction of Stonehenge - Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, a watercolour from 1794 by Joshua Gosselin. Also on view will be lithographs from the Stonehenge Suite by Henry Moore and works by contemporary Wiltshire artist David Inshaw.
There are images of other Wiltshire landmarks - from Silbury Hill to Bradenstoke Priory. It is from the Priory that an important series of Medieval floor tiles will be shown - many of the designs on the tiles are unique to the Priory.
For the first time visitors will have the opportunity to see Apollo Pythion, by Jo Tilson, who is now 89 and was one of the leading figures associated with the British Pop Art movement It was gifted to the Museum by Art Fund in 2002.
Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund Director: "We are proud that our support of Wiltshire Museum over the last thirty years is being celebrated in this exhibition. The works of art and artefacts help to animate the historical narrative of Wiltshire and are a testament to Paul Robinson's dedicated efforts."
In the past five years alone Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries advance their collections. It is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by the 139,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and other benefits.
More details at the Museum's website: www.wiltshiremuseum.org.uk Click on images to enlarge them.