Links to former factory could bring great artworks to Norwich

© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, LondonEdouard Manet (1832-1883), Dejeuner sur l

© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, LondonEdouard Manet (1832-1883), Dejeuner sur l'herbe, c.1863-68 - Credit: Archant

Great artworks from one of the world's leading collections could be displayed in Norwich, as part of a heritage project linked to a long-closed city textiles factory.

Courtaulds weaving room. Date: 1965

Courtaulds weaving room. Date: 1965 - Credit: Archant

Fabric manufacturer Courtaulds had a site in Oak Street from the 1960s until a devastating fire in 1979 and its eventual closure in 1981. The national company Courtalds, founded in 1794, had factories around the country and made the Courtald family very wealthy - including industrialist Samuel Courtauld who was a keen art collector.

He used some of his fortune to found the Courtauld Institute of Art in London in 1932, and his vision was to bring art to all.

This continues today as the institute, now part of the University of London, has secured more than £9m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help its Courtauld Connects programme.

The programme aims to reconnect the Courtauld to the people of the towns and cities where Courtaulds Ltd once had a major industrial presence, including Norwich, Coventry, Preston, Belfast, Braintree, Bolton and Holywell in Wales.

Courtaulds training officer PJ Crickett with trainees James White & Elizabeth Grant. Date: feb 1965

Courtaulds training officer PJ Crickett with trainees James White & Elizabeth Grant. Date: feb 1965 - Credit: Archant


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This will involve loans of artwork to museums in these places, and exchange programmes with educational institutions.

Courtauld Connects will be a £50m project overall, including work at its permanent gallery at Somerset House in London.

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Professor Deborah Swallow, of the Courtauld, said: 'We are taking Samuel Courtauld's vision of art for all and reimagining the Courtauld for the 21st Century so that new audiences around the world can benefit from our work and his legacy.'

The gallery has already initiated a pilot project with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, with which it has shared an important group of impressionist works by Edgar Degas.

Vase of Flowers by Claude Monet will travel to the Harris Art Gallery in Preston and Dejeuner sur l'Herbe by Edouard Manet will be loaned to the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.

Francesca Vanke, keeper of arts at Norwich Castle Museum, said it was an 'exciting development' and followed previous loans of etchings by Édouard Manet.

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