Venues plan The Grand Tour of the East Midlands

Partnership to promote cultural tourism
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Rebecca Atkinson
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Four organisations in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire have created a modern-day Grand Tour of the East Midlands.

Nottingham Contemporary, Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derby Museums and the Harley Gallery in Welbeck will display Baroque and Enlightenment objects from their collections alongside contemporary artists such as Pablo Bronstein, Peter Blake, Rem Koolhaas and Rose English.

The Grand Tour refers to a tradition among upper-class men to travel around Europe in the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. As well as bringing artworks back with them, their travels greatly influenced British artistic innovations and taste.

Planned with Experience Nottinghamshire and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, the modern Grand Tour programme of exhibitions aims to showcase the regions’ art collections, architecture and landscapes to new local, national and international audiences.

The project received £350,000 from Arts Council England’s and VisitEngland's £3m cultural destinations programme, which supports venues to work with the tourism sector to maximise the impact arts and culture has on local economies.

Highlights include Bronstein curating an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary of his own drawings and objects from Chatsworth House. The artist has also been commissioned to create new works responding to the historic property and its collection.

Elsewhere, an exhibition at Derby Museums will explore Joseph Wright of Derby’s formative years in Italy, alongside work by Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling.

And Blake will curate a display of the Portland Collection of miniatures at the Harley Gallery. It will be accompanied by an exhibition of his collages from The World Tour series.

Alex Farquharson, the director of Nottingham Contemporary, said: “The Grand Tour played a major role in shaping the world-famous art collections, architecture and landscape of this region.

"Our own Grand Tour builds on this history through exhilarating encounters between leading contemporary artists and these world-class collections. Contemporary art will shed a new light on the cultural riches of the region through a new Grand Tour that is completely of its time.”

The programme of exhibitions will take place from July to September next year and March to June in 2016. A spokeswoman for the project said that it is in discussions to widen the scope of the partnership and projects.


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