Courtauld National Partnerships is a varied programme of activity engaging with people living in or near to the areas where Courtaulds Ltd once had significant industrial presence. This will connect The Courtauld with parts of the nation with whom we share a history – through the figure of Samuel Courtauld and his family’s company.
The programme is coordinated by The Courtauld Gallery team, working with Public Programmes and comprises three core strands:
Loans: a loans programme sharing individual or small collections of works from The Courtauld’s collection with regional partners. Ten loan projects will be delivered over the course of the programme.
People and Places: a programme of community-based activities drawing on the social and industrial history of Courtaulds Ltd in eight locations.
Partner Networking: events and engagements between partners that will support information sharing and the identification of best practice; sustaining Courtauld National’s legacy within the sector.
These activities are complemented by two further strands led by the Digitisation team and Open Courtauld:
Courtauld Retold: an opportunity for people local to all ten regional partners to become involved in the Courtauld Connects digitisation project tour, which will take our Collections Digitisation project to each site/ community.
ResFest National: a touring version of the Somerset House event which anchors the Open Courtauld programme drawing on the heritage, art research and practice interests of regional locations.
Sharing the collection of the Samuel Courtauld Trust is a key part of the programme, allowing us to collaborate with an array of partners and volunteers across the country, and to share the collection with those connected to it through the History of Courtaulds Ltd. Each exhibition or display will be developed in collaboration with a local partner so take a look at the individual partner pages to see what is happening in each area. We will also show works from partner museums’ collections at The Courtauld Gallery as part of special projects.
Alongside projects to share our collection, our partnerships will include an exciting programme of volunteer activities, many will involve gathering and sharing the local story of Courtaulds Ltd, exploring its rich history and how its legacy is felt in the community today. While others may focus on working with volunteers to create a sense of ownership of shared cultural heritage by curating community exhibitions based on the Courtauld loans, local collections and/or local archives.
Working with young people through schools and colleges, People and Places will explore the social history of the local communities in areas with a Courtaulds Ltd legacy, projects will have a particular focus on the built environment as the means through which we can link with the past and understand our experiences today. They will be delivered in the communities served by our partner museums/ galleries and will include a visit to the partner museums and sites of architectural interest in the area. Following re-opening of The Courtauld Gallery, students and teachers will have the opportunity to visit Somerset House and engage with the historical architecture as well as the collections on site.
A vital part of ongoing work at Somerset House is the conservation, digitisation, cataloguing and publication online of The Courtauld’s original and almost wholly unpublished print and negative collections from the Conway Library, Kersting Archive and Laib Collection – a resource of over 1.1 million images. An archive of people, customs, costume, work, and national identity, our photographic collections offer an alternative and accessible means by which audiences can engage with the work of The Courtauld.
From 2020, Courtauld Retold will tour ten regions with a Courtaulds Ltd connection in a purpose-designed mobile photographic studio, equipped with a camera and scanner as well as boxes of images selected from the Conway Library that relate to the region.
More information about Courtauld Retold and the digitisation of our collections is available on their blog.
ResFest is our annual showcase of the innovative and dynamic research and teaching that takes place at The Courtauld. In 2018 we collaborated with Ulster Museum to host Resfest in Belfast and over the next few years we will continue to take Resfest on the road. In each location we will work with partners to showcase the dynamism of art history through short talks and creative performances relevant to the people and heritage of each location we visit.
Precious and Rare: Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld
A touring exhibition of remarkable pieces of Islamic metalwork dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The objects include some of the finest examples of this intricate craft from modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Turkey, and will travel to four venues across the UK. The most spectacular piece in the collection is the Courtauld Bag, made in Mosul, present-day northern Iraq, for a noble lady of the Persian-Mongol court, around 1300 – 1330. It is recognised as one of the finest pieces of Islamic inlaid metalwork in existence, and the only surviving object of its kind.
This national tour of the collection will be the first time the Courtauld Bag will be shown outside the Courtauld in over 40 years.
• Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro: 27 Sept 2019 – 12 January 2020
• Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford: 18 January – 10 May 2020
• Holburne Museum, Bath: 20 May – 6 September 2020
• History of Science Museum, Oxford: 11 September 2020 – 3 January 2021
Courtauld National Partnerships are part of an ambitious programme to transform our Gallery, teaching, learning and social spaces. This multi-million-pound development is the most significant since we moved to our home in Somerset House in 1989.
The gallery will be closed from 2018 -2021 to allow this exciting work to take place, alongside the National Partnership programme we will also be collaborating with other galleries to deliver an ongoing programme of exhibitions nationally and internationally. More information about Courtauld Connects and other opportunities to view the collection are available on the project website.