December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Anthony Carroll
Friday, October 11, 2013
It spends most of its time in storage at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
But a masterpiece by one of the country’s most eminent painters was put on show at a Lowestoft high school this week as part of a project to highlight some of the nation’s finest artworks.
Pupils at Benjamin Britten High got up close to The Conjuror, painted in about 1847 by John Everett Millais, who founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt.
Tuesday’s event was part of the national Your Paintings: Masterpeices in Schools project which saw 27 schools hosting famous works by artists such as Gainsborough, LS Lowry, Monet, Spencer and Turner.
The initiative was launched by BBC Learning and the Public Catalogue Foundation to help young people explore the nation’s rich and varied artistic heritage.
It has been seven months since The Conjuror was last on public on display and the students at Benjamin Britten enjoyed the chance to examine the picture, which shows a magician performing in front of an attentive audience.
Year seven student Isobelle Millington said: “I was not interested much in art before this, but now I am. It is a very nice painting, There is a lot to see in it.
Molly Tills, also in year seven, said: “It is really good and makes you think how long it took to do.”
Headteacher Andrew Hine said having the painting on show was a coup for the school, which had not been told in advance which work of art it was getting.
He said: “We have a strong arts commitment at the school, so when we were offered the chance of having a masterpiece it was an obvious choice to apply for it.
“It is good for the students to get up close to a real masterpiece as it brings the world of art straight to them.”
Giorgia Bottinelli, curator of historic art at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, said The Conjuror was last on display in March at a Magic Worlds exhibition.
She said: “It was painted by Millais when he was only 18. It could be said it is a Pre-Pre Raphaelite. It is a painting that asks many questions.”
Born in 1829 in Southampton, Millais was the youngest ever pupil to enrol at the Royal Academy Schools aged 11.
As part of the Your Paintings scheme, works from Lowestoft Museum, Lowestoft Maritime Museum, the Sailor’s Reading Room in Southwold, Southwold Museum, Southwold Town Hall and Lowestoft Town Hall are all featured on the project’s website at www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings