Over £800k Of Funding Ensures Museums Nationwide Continue To Benefit From Loans Of Treasures From National Collections

Sunrise, Orwell, Suffolk by Maggi Hambling 1991. Gift of the Contemporary Art Society Collection Heritage Doncaster. Copyright the artist/Bridgeman Images

Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund extend successful partnership

Many more local museums will be able to borrow some of the UK’s most notable national treasures following the announcement that the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund are extending the Weston Loan Programme for three more years with a further £810,000 investment pledged by the Foundation.

At a glance:

  • Further £810,000 to be invested over next three years through Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund
  • Visitor numbers at local museums boosted by an average 40%, following £750,000 investment by Garfield Weston Foundation over last three years
  • Work by renowned artists such as Walter Sickert, Peter Paul Rubens, Eric Ravilious, William Hogarth, Patrick Caulfield, Charles Pears and Laura Knight to be enjoyed by new audiences

The programme, established in 2017, is designed to fund and empower regional and smaller local authority museums to borrow major works of art from national collections. To date, Garfield Weston has invested £750,000 in individual borrowing grants, project management, training and evaluation, through this ground-breaking programme. It has dramatically boosted visitor numbers – on average by 40% – through increased access to a wide lending pool with works by Master painters such as Rembrandt and Stubbs, and treasures including the 12th-century Becket Casket, going on loan to local museums.

Sophia Weston, Trustee, Garfield Weston Foundation said: “When we first set out to create this programme, we had no idea it would be so successful or capture so many people’s imagination. We were determined that it should continue so that many more regional museums and communities across the UK could continue to benefit. Forging lasting connections between national collections and more local centres with equally fascinating treasures has been so important and inspiring – we look forward to seeing the partnerships that will develop over the next few years.”

Lynda Powell, director of Green Howards Museum in Richmond, North Yorkshire, commented on the benefits of the programme: “The Weston Loan with Art Fund has enabled our museum to loan objects from nationals for the first time. Our team has developed new skills in the management of loans and just as importantly new multi-disciplinary collaborative ways of working. We are now able to confidently plan a programme of future loans which will complement our own collections.”

Building on programme’s successes

  • Since 2017, 26 museums and galleries and 123 curators have benefited from the Weston Loan Programme.
  • Last year, Salford Museum and Art Gallery doubled the number of 16-25-year olds attending through its partnership with London’s Royal Academy of Arts, with a third of visitors being new to the institution.
  • Thanks to the programme’s support, visitor satisfaction levels have significantly increased: Rugby Art Gallery was rated with a 98% visitor satisfaction score for its exhibition, About Face: The Rugby Collection 2018, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum; and an impressive 99% of visitor feedback was positive for The Paxton Style: Neat and Substantially Good at Paxton House, Berwick-upon-Tweed.
  • Skills of regional museum professionals have been strengthened, giving them greater access to resources and expertise. Staff at Salford Museum and Art Gallery reported a 50% improvement in professional skills, knowledge and confidence in loans.

Latest funding decisions

Grants* totalling £196,000 have been awarded through this year’s funding pot to 13 museums across England, Wales and Scotland. Loans of works of art and objects will go on display from 2020 onwards. The 13 successful recipients for this year are:

  • Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York, Yorkshire (£17,625)

Support towards Richard III: Coming Home. Includes loans from the National Portrait Gallery.

  • Doncaster’s Culture and Learning Centre, Doncaster, Yorkshire (£8,539)

Support towards Heritage Doncaster, Double Take. Includes loans from the Arts Council Collection.

  • Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar, Yorkshire (£25,000)

Support towards Nordic by Nature. Includes loans from the British Museum.

  • Pontefract Museum, Pontefract, Yorkshire (£7,700)

Support towards Bracing Air, Abundant Amusements: The Travel Posters of Charles Pears. Includes loans from the National Railway Museum and V&A.

  • Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, Ealing, London (£5,000)

Support towards A Rake’s Progress and Modern Life. Includes a loan from Sir John Soane’s Museum.

  • The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, Brecon, Wales (£5,776)

Support towards The Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh. Includes a loan from the British Library.

  • Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni, Wales (£10,746)

Support towards William Roos: Portrait of a Welsh Artist. Includes loans from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the National Library of Wales.

  • Elgin Museum, Elgin, Scotland (£23,270)

Support towards Elgin Museum, At the Water’s Edge. Includes a loan from National Museums Scotland.

  • Wiltshire Museum, Devizes, SW England (£24,950)

Support towards Eric Ravilious: Downland Man. Includes loans from V&A, British Museum, Imperial War Museum, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and Tate.

  • Penlee House Gallery and Museum, Penzance, SW England (£9,270)

Support towards Laura Knight exhibition. Includes a loan from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

  • Reading Museum jointly with University of Reading, SE England (£17,900)

Support towards Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing. Includes loans from the British Museum and Arts Council Collection.

  • Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings, SE England (£25,000)

Support towards Coming up to Standard. Includes a loan from the British Museum.

  • Hereford Cider Museum, Hereford, W Midlands (£15,583)

Support towards Victoria: the Age of the Apple. Includes a loan from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

*Grants of between £5,000 to £25,000 help museums cover costs such as transportation of works of art and objects, insurance, conservation, installation, advocacy, marketing, travel costs, audience development and evaluation.

To keep up to date with funding news from Art Fund, please visit:

Art Fund website

Art Fund Twitter: @artfund

Image: Sunrise, Orwell, Suffolk by Maggi Hambling 1991. Gift of the Contemporary Art Society Collection Heritage Doncaster. Copyright the artist/Bridgeman Images

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