Photograph, Tate London, 2013 Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1831, John Constable Purchased by Tate with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Manton Foundation the Art Fund and Tate Members in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service, National Galleries of Scotland; and Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum. 2013

Museum partners begin Constable tour

Simon Stephens, 11.03.2014
Cathedral from the Meadows will be shown throughout the UK for next five years
John Constable's Cathedral from the Meadows has gone on display at the National Museum Cardiff in the first stage of a five-year tour that the painting will make across the UK.

The tour is a partnership, called Aspire, between the five museums that bought the work in May 2013: Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales; the National Galleries of Scotland; Colchester and Ipswich Museums; Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum; and Tate Britain.

The painting was acquired for £23.1m, with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund HLF), £15.8m, the Art Fund, £1m, as well as contributions from the Manton Foundation and Tate Members. The HLF and the Art Fund are also supporting the tour, which will be accompanied by a series of events and learning activities.

Caroline Collier, Tate’s director of partnership and programmes, said that the Aspire partnership follows earlier initiatives such as the Great British Art Debate, a project between Tate Britain, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service and Museums Sheffield.

“With the Great British Art Debate we looked at and talked about the value of sharing collections between organisations as one distributed national collection looked after in different places, but owned entirely by us, the public,” Collier said. “The partnerships have evolved and become more and more genuinely collaborative in nature.

“This acquisition of this remarkable painting is very unusual in that it has been brought into public ownership through a partnership agreement that has no end point,” Collier added. “The painting is technically owned by Tate but the terms of the agreement mean the five Aspire partners will have a particular interest and influence over this painting always.”

The painting has been on view at The National Gallery on long-term loan since 1983 and most recently in the Constable room at Tate Britain before coming to Cardiff.

The June issue of Museums Journal will include a feature about partnerships between museums and galleries. Please contact simon@museumsassociation.org if you would like to contribute.

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