In the 17th and 18th centuries young aristocrats travelled Europe on a cultural grand tour and on their return they shaped the art and architecture of our region.
The 5th Duke of Devonshire and the 3rd Duke of Portland owners of Chatsworth and the Welbeck Estate studied architecture and fine art in Italy.
Joseph Wright made many sketches for his paintings in Rome and Naples and Byron whose ancestral home is Newstead Abbey found inspiration for his poetry on his travels.
Now we are being invited to emulate their adventures and see the historic treasures of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire through the eyes of today’s leading artists.
The Grand Tour of 2015-2016 is the formative cultural experience of the past made modern-day.
It is going to showcase our astonishing wealth of art, architecture and landscape to a new generation of visitors, but of course it will also be there for local people to see, so this is an opportunity not to be missed.
The tour is being split over two seasons, July 4-September 20 this year and March to July next year.
Fringe events are also building up around the core exhibitions at Chatsworth, Derby Museum, Nottingham Contemporary and Welbeck as other arts venues get involved.
The main tour is split into three main events spread over four venues.
Pablo Bronstein at Nottingham Contemporary and Chatsworth is a unique collaboration between the two places which has involved Chatsworth making its largest loan of artwork in 30 years.
Nearly 70 items, including Delft porcelain, silverware, Old Master drawings and paintings, furniture and sculpture, from the Devonshire Collection will be on display in four galleries the Contemporary. They have all been chosen by Bronstein and he will be showing the works in a new light.
He has also been commissioned to make a series of new work in response to the Chatsworth collection. At Nottingham a large scale drawing will wrap around the main gallery while at Chatsworth he will create a new drawing for the Old Master Drawings Cabinet and present a survey of his drawings in the New Gallery.
At the Harley Gallery at Welbeck there is a rare chance to see part of Em Koolhaas’ exhibition Elements of Architecture at the estate that influenced the work.
Elements of Architecture: Corridors and Welbeck Tunnels, explores the vast underground ballroom and tunnels at Welbeck. You will be able to see a 19th century door from Welbeck Abbey which has a specially designed double letterbox, made so messages could pass between the 5th Duke of Portland and his staff without them seeing into his apartment.
On July 5 The School of Artisan Food will present a Grand Feast Day hosted by historian Ivan Day, bringing back to life long forgotten dishes encountered by the 18th century grand tourist.
A painting believed to be by Joseph Wright, The Colosseum by Moonlight will be displayed for the first time in 200 years as part of a Wright Revealed exhibition at Derby Museum and Art Gallery. It will be alongside its companion painting The Colosseum by Daylight which was inspired by Wright’s own tour.
For more details of events and Fringe events at venues such as QUAD in Derby go to http://www.thegrandtour.uk.com