Sunday, December 13, 2009

Four Months & Counting

first published in News & Buzz London at

The independent charity, The Art Fund has joined forces with the Staffordshire County Council, Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council to raise the £3.3 million necessary to keep the recently found Staffordshire Hoard in the West Midlands. The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent have just under four months to raise the seven figure valuation set by the Treasure Valuation Committee for the Hoard.

Found in July by metal detectorist, Terry Herbert on a farm owned by Fred Johnson the Staffordshire Hoard is the largest and most valuable treasure find in British history. And should the valuation not be met the ownership of the treasure will revert to the finders for them do with as they see fit.

The Art Fund is an independent charity with some 80,000 members committed to saving art for everyone to enjoy. Since 1903 they have assisted more than 600 museums and galleries around the UK to save over 860,000 works of art, from priceless masterpieces which were under threat of being sold abroad, to acquiring fascinating works costing a few hundred pounds. Each year they provide about £4 million to museums and galleries to help them build the public collections of the future. They also led the 2001 successful campaign to extend free admission to all national museums and galleries.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "This awe-inspiring hoard really must be kept in the West Midlands where it was unearthed. Since we were founded in 1903, The Art Fund has led many successful campaigns to save treasures such as this, and our success is down to the support of members of the public who care as much as we do about preserving the nation's heritage."

The public can donate to save the Staffordshire Hoard at and more information about the Hoard itself can be found here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sleepless in Transit

First published in News & Buzz at

Friday December 4 was a day of relaxation for Stephane Guegan, the director of cultural services at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. Charged with the delivery of 112 of Musee d’Orsay's best post–impressionist paintings half way across the world for the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition Masterpieces from Paris, the exhibition had opened.

Described as the creme de la crème of the French museum’s collection, Mousier Guegan claimed that a decent night's sleep became elusive from the moment he first saw the insurance valuations of the works listed on paper - and that was before he even left Paris. For included amongst the 122 paintings are seven van Goghs, nine Gauguins, eight Cezannes and five Monets.

This exhibition of priceless paintings, which also includes works by Georges Seurat, Pierre Bonnard, Douanier Rousseau and Edouard Vuillard, are on loan whilst the Musee d’Orsay renovates its post-impressionist galleries. It is the first time they have been brought together in an exhibition outside of France.

After the Australian exhibition, which closes on April 5, 2010, Mousier Guegan will be faced with more disturbed nights as his charges travel to Tokyo and San Francisco before returning to the walls of the Musee d’Orsay.

More information about the Masterpieces from Paris can be found at the National Gallery of Australia’s web site, here.