Art Galleries Skylight
23 January 2017
Major National Funding for Art Galleries Skylight Project
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum has received £132,453 for its Art Galleries Skylight Project, from the Department for Culture Media and Sport / Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement fund. This vitalprogramme of improvement will restore the structure of the building, improve the environment for the visitor and transform the museum’s ability to secure seminal loans and deliver outstanding exhibitions.
Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, says:-
“Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions. We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.
“I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.”
Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, adds:-
“This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding. The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections. From Egyptian mummies in Leicester to a Roman fort on Tyneside, this is a gloriously diverse set of projects – but all demonstrate excellence and all will improve the visitor experience.
“In announcing these awards I also want to pay tribute to Giles Waterfield. He was a brilliant advisor to the programme from its inception and sparkled at an expert panel meeting in the very week in which he tragically and unexpectedly died. We all owe him a great deal.”
In the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, the four Edwardian art galleries earmarked for upgrades each contain a beautiful stained glass window in the ceiling, covered on the roof by a wooden and glass skylight structure. These are intended to be enjoyed with overhead light filtered through the stained glass. However, the exposed seaside location of the house has meant that these roof-lights are no longer fully functional or environmentally compliant. During this project, the rotten skylights will be dismantled and new structures constructed containing tinted, toughened glass to reduce heat loss and for long term LUX reduction, and the stained glass will be conserved and repaired.
This is not a cheap intervention, but a high quality and sustainable solution which is required to enable the museum’s exhibition galleries to fulfil their significant potential.
The project will renovate the physical structure of the building and, by allowing the museum to remove temporary covers and restore and reveal all the stained glass fully, will recreate the beautiful light in the galleries which was part of the original architectural design and vision. This will have a transformative effect on its visitors and their enjoyment of the museum’s internationally significant art collections.
Councillor Lawrence Williams, Cabinet Member for Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Bournemouth Borough Council comments:-
“I am delighted that the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum has received this significant national funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund. It signifies a major step forward in the improvement of these beautiful Edwardian galleries and the development of a major Bournemouth landmark and will also increase its capacity to host internationally and historically important and valuable works of art and exhibitions.”
The improvements to environmental conditions will improve care for the museum’s own collections and also put the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in a position to borrow significant and high value paintings, sculpture, and other works from larger museums and galleries as part of an ambitious exhibition programme which has been planned up until 2020. Feedback indicates that local audiences value seeing work on loan from other museums, and that visitors appreciate the opportunity to see these artworks without having to travel to places such as London. The opportunity to see more internationally acclaimed works of art in Bournemouth will benefit not only the people of the conurbation but all art lovers across the South West. By having access to loans of national and international importance we can place ourselves at the centre of Bournemouth’s cultural offer, developing inspirational exhibitions which would draw visitors into the museum and attract visitors to Bournemouth as a whole.
The Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is also delighted to be the recipient of a grant from the Sylvia Waddilove Foundation which will also be used for the Art Galleries Skylight Projects
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is one of the most fascinating historic houses in England.
Comprising an art gallery, museum. historic house, café and a gift shop, it features collections of high Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite Art of international-standing including Albert Moore’s Midsummer and Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Venus Verticordia.
Built by Merton Russell-Cotes as an extravagant birthday gift for his wife, Annie, it celebrates the couple’s passion for art and travel, world cultures and natural history. Situated on Bournemouth’s stunning cliff-top over-looking the sea, this exotic seaside villa has been sealed in time creating a unique atmosphere in a most dramatic setting.