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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

EXETER MUSEUM WINS £100,000 AWARD



Exeter museum wins £100,000 award
This year’s Art Fund Prize has been given to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, which reopened in December after a ten-year, £24m renovation

By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 20 June 2012

The £100,000 Art Fund Prize for the UK’s museum of the year for 2012 has been won by a local-authority-run museum and art gallery in the southwest of England. Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum reopened in December after a ten-year, £24m modernisation of its Venetian-Gothic-style building and the display of the eclectic collection that it has housed since 1868. Funding for its expansion and refurbishment was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, among other groups.

Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, spoke at the awards ceremony held in the Egyptian Galleries of the British Museum on 19 June. He referred to the monumental statue of Ramases II nearby—and in a deadpan way also to his recent grilling by the Leveson inquiry into press standards in connection with News Corp’s bid to buy BSkyB. The pharonic statute was a reminder of the “temporal nature of political power”, he said, and the event one of his more pleasant recent public engagements.

Highlights of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum include works of art such as William Powell Frith’s The Fair Toxophilites, 1872, a fine ethnographic collection that reflects the city’s mercantile history, as well as Gerald, a stuffed bull giraffe donated in 1919. The latter now shares a gallery with Exeter’s memorable, large-scale canvas by Benjamin Robert Haydon, Curtius Leaping into the Gulf, 1842, featuring the Roman hero leaping into a chasm riding an understandably terrified horse.


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