Heritage Lottery funding will buy Wright portraits

Francis-and-Mary-Hurt-bothDerby Museums has received £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to contribute to purchase of two portraits of Francis and Mary Hurt by Joseph Wright, for the people of Derby.

The award will support an appeal by Derby Museums Trust, who launched a £122,000 public fundraising campaign in January this year. The Museum Trust has been overwhelmed by the public support for their campaign to save two paintings, of unique local significance. The campaign to-date has raised in excess of £16,000 from both public and private donations, a fundraising event by the Friends of Derby Museums, and by one individual who raised £800 from a sponsored walk.

The award from the HLF, will allow Derby Museums Trust to purchase the two paintings enable the museums trust to build upon its internationally renowned collection of Joseph Wright paintings. Derby Museums Trust are lining up a busy schedule of activities for the works including a programme of conservation on the paintings and summer public events and activities, including talks, workshops work with local schools.

Derby Museums marketing manager, Tony Adams, said:  “The award is significant for the people of Derby, as it demonstrates how the money they pay into the National Lottery, is having a direct local benefit, by enabling organisations like Derby Museums to purchase significant artworks by a world-renowned artist from Derby . The portraits themselves, are a small part Derby’s history and will be on public display for the people of Derby and future generations to enjoy.”

Principle Keeper Collections, Roger Shelly, said: ‘These pictures symbolise the natural resources and economic ambition that drove Derbyshire people to make the county the powerhouse of Britain in the early industrial revolution.  It is absolutely proper that they are saved for the people of Derby in the city’s prestigious Joseph Wright gallery’.

Derby Museums have ambitious plans for the Wright collection on both a local and international stage.

The award from the HLF is a significant contribution to enable the museums trust to forge ahead with its plans for a major exhibition and study centre and to benefit the people of Derby.

The public will be able to view and enjoy the paintings for free at the Museum and Art Gallery on The Strand, Derby.