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Cornwall Museums Partnership

Jan van Huysum Visits: Dutch Masterpiece Comes to Cornwall


A painting of a full vase of colourful painted flowers

Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) is delighted to announce its partnership with the National Gallery and Concern Wadebridge to welcome Jan van Huysum Visits to Cornwall following the positive response to Artemisia Visits in 2019.

As part of a tour of six locations across the nation this summer, Van Huysum’s magnificent Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (1736–7) will pop up in unusual or unexpected non-museum venues; locations include a food bank and community library, a covered market, a former department store and community centres.  Besides Cornwall, the painting will also visit Norfolk, the East Midlands, South Yorkshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Jan van Huysum Visits is part of the National Gallery’s national partnerships exhibition programme, which aims to share paintings across the UK, creating a range of ways for the widest possible audience to explore and be inspired by the collection. Each display will explore one of six ‘Ways to Wellbeing’: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give, and Care (for the Planet).

The Sir John Betjeman Centre in Wadebridge has been chosen as an excellent location for the exhibition as a community hub that supports people over 50 or who have a disability, and a special place of intergenerational connection. Flowers in a Terracotta Vase, which shows over 30 species of flowers and plants in bloom, will be on display for public viewing at the Sir John Betjeman Centre from Tuesday 8th to Sunday 13th June 2021 between the hours of 9am and 4pm, with the exception of Saturday 12th June when the centre will be open from 9am to 2pm.

Jeremy Rowe, Manager of Concern Wadebridge, said: ‘Concern Wadebridge is delighted to be able to welcome the National Gallery to the John Betjeman Centre. A love of the arts is embedded in this part of Cornwall and it will be a wonderful opportunity for the community to be able to see such a fantastic piece at such close quarters.’

CMP’s purpose is to achieve positive social change with museums and their collections; by working with community partners such as the Sensory Trust, Concern Wadebridge and the Memory Café network, as well as local schools and community groups, CMP believes this tour could have a far-reaching legacy  and will positively impact Cornish communities well beyond Wadebridge.

Emmie Kell, CEO at Cornwall Museums Partnership, commented: ‘When we were approached by the National Gallery, we were delighted to accept their invitation to work in partnership. Our charity is committed to creating positive social change with museums and we believe that this project demonstrates how art can promote health and wellbeing, creating opportunities for communities to connect and create together. We hope that this partnership will be the catalyst for more of the country’s national collections being available for the people of Cornwall to learn about and enjoy’.

At the heart of Jan van Huysum Visits is engagement with local communities. In each setting the Gallery is working closely with the venue as well as a local museum or gallery to ensure that as many people as possible can engage with the painting and make it come alive in new and different ways.

National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, says, ‘This astounding, large flower painting will make an unexpected appearance in unexpected venues across the country. I hope it will make people think about art and the beauty of nature, encourage their own creativity and inspire them to visit their own local museum or art collection.’

CMP have been working locally with children and young people to develop alternative interpretative labels to accompany the painting. Trainee Curators, who are part of a programme funded by the John Ellerman Foundation offering paid internships to five young people at Cornish museums, have also been lucky to work alongside the National Gallery to produce the official interpretation which will accompany the piece.

The National Gallery has also provided resources for local primary and secondary schools in Wadebridge to interact with the tour and build a visit to the masterpiece into their curriculum.

As part of our commitment to creating a more inclusive sector, CMP has worked hard to ensure that the impact of this tour will be felt beyond Wadebridge. Collaborating with the Sensory Trust, CMP hopes to facilitate increased engagement with the exhibition by delivering resource packs to 10 care homes and 10 primary schools in remote locations across Cornwall so that those whose cannot visit the Dutch masterpiece in person are nonetheless able to interact with and benefit from the tour.

Ellie Robinson-Carter, Creative Spaces Project Officer at the Sensory Trust, commented: ‘At the Sensory Trust we thrive on creating opportunities for people to access the outdoors and connect with nature in sensory-rich, creative ways. This exciting project is a fantastic and unique opportunity for our beneficiaries to connect with nature, themselves and one another, greatly expanding their sense of community. This year has taught us what is possible when shifting the focus to remote engagement, despite all the challenges, and this project will be the perfect way of sharing and adding to this learning even more’.

Wadebridge Memory Café, which supports people living with memory loss to live well, is also really looking forward to Jan Huysum Visits, and is planning to organise groups to sit with the painting and talk about what they see. The Café have not been able to meet physically since March 2020 so for many this will be the first opportunity to meet with friends back at the John Betjeman Centre. There is lots of research to show that looking and engaging with pictures is helpful for those with memory loss; this is something the group have been doing regularly through their Memory Cafe Online events over the past year.

This project is supported by Art Explora – Académie des Beaux-Arts Award

Insurance has been gifted by Blackwall Green


You can view the full press release and notes to editors as a PDF here: National-Gallery-Press-Release

Image Credit:

Jan van Huysum
Flowers in a Terracotta Vase
Oil on canvas, 133.5 x 91.5 cm
Bought, 1869

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