Over a period of one year the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour offers three museums and galleries outside London the opportunity to display a major work from the Gallery’s collection. This year the Masterpiece Tour, made possible by the generous support of Christie’s, will enable audiences in north and south-west England to access one of its masterpieces in their own region.
11 April – 7 July 2019
At Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery, Poussin’s masterpiece will be shown alongside works from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s own art collection, which includes works from the 15th century to the present day. Exploring the timeless relevance of the Classical in art and design, the display will reflect on Bath’s Roman and Georgian heritage and include works by artists as diverse as Thomas Malton, Jean Claude Nattes, and Grayson Perry.
12 July – 22 September 2019
The next stop on the tour is York Art Gallery, founded in 1892, which has a rich collection spanning over six hundred years of Western art, from the 14th century to the present day. Highlights include early religious Italian panels, 17th-century Dutch masterpieces, Victorian narrative paintings, and 20th-century works by artists such as LS Lowry and David Hockney, as well as the largest collection of work by York-born artist William Etty RA, and a large collection of works on paper. The gallery also holds the most extensive and representative collection of studio ceramics, showcased in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). Following a major £8 million redevelopment project which created 60 percent more display space and new gardens, the gallery reopened in 2015 and now runs a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions of both contemporary and historic art.
5 October 2019 – 5 January 2020
The final venue in the 2019 Masterpiece Tour is Auckland Castle, one of the most important and best-preserved medieval bishops' palaces in Europe. The Castle, once home to the Prince-Bishops of Durham, is now the centrepiece of The Auckland Project, a new visitor destination centred around arts, heritage, and faith. Set to reopen in 2019, Auckland Castle is currently undergoing conservation to be returned to its original splendour, with highlights including a succession of Georgian Gothic state rooms containing delicate plasterwork, originally created in the 1700s by the renowned English architect James Wyatt.
Among the finest surviving examples of Wyatt’s Georgian Gothic in the country, they form a state processional route from the Castle entrance to the great Throne Room, where audiences with the Bishop were once held. As well as telling the story of the Prince Bishops of Durham, Auckland Castle also boasts a temporary exhibition programme and is home to 'Jacob and his Twelve Sons', an impressive cycle of paintings by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán.