Mrs Baldwin joins the British Portaits Collection
Magnificent Reynolds' portrait bought for Compton Verney art gallery for £3,365,60

Portrait of Mrs Baldwin, one of the finest works by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) to come to auction in recent years, was bought today at Sotheby’s London, for Compton Verney, the new art gallery in Warwickshire. This is the second highest auction price ever realized for a work by the artist and is the highest sum paid to date for an acquisition for Compton Verney.

Reynolds’ striking portrait of the beautiful Mrs Baldwin will join Compton Verney’s collection of historic British portraits. The collection is one of six on permanent display at the new gallery, which was opened by the Prince of Wales in March 2004.

Painted in 1782, at the height of Reynolds’ career, Portrait of Mrs Baldwin brings together all the qualities that define Reynolds’ oeuvre. A dazzling demonstration of his painterly skills, the picture is also testament to Reynolds’ remarkable ability to infuse his portraits with enormous imaginative appeal. Portrait of Mrs Baldwin depicts one of the most glamorous, widely-esteemed women of her day in extravagant Persian costume.

Portrait of Mrs Baldwin is the most recent in an on-going purchasing programme for Compton Verney. All six collections – Neapolitan Art (1600-1800), German Medieval Sculpture and Painting, Chinese archaic bronzes and pottery, British Folk Art and historic British Portraits have been built up specifically for Compton Verney in the eleven years since the mansion was bought by the Peter Moores Foundation for development into an art gallery in 1993. The collections, which belong to the Compton Verney House Settlement, have been created almost entirely through auctions, a large part of these at Sotheby’s.

Previous important purchases include the medieval Limewood figure of an unknown Female Saint by the German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, bought at Sotheby’s New York in May 2001 for a record £2.067million, and a Neapolitan panorama, A Prospect of Posillipo with the Palazzo Donn’Anna and Naples in the Background, by the artist Gaspar van Wittel, known as Vanvitelli, bought at Sotheby’s London in December 2001 (£2,203.5million).
Open until 29 August, this exhibition has been curated by Jimmie Durham, an artist and writer of Cherokee descent, and Richard William Hill, of Cree heritage, and former Curator of Ontario Art Gallery.

This extensive selection of rarely seen historical and contemporary work includes paintings, photographs, Plains Indian ledger drawings, ephemera from popular culture, dime novels and film posters.

Apart from the exhibition itself, several other events are planned, like an American West Roadshow where experts will consider your very own American West memorabilia, a multi-media performance about what it means to be an Indian in America today and an outdoor film screening of the classic John Ford western, ‘The Searchers’.
Running from 16 September - 30 October 2005 this exhibition focuses on paintings from the series The Rumour and Der Diagnostische Blick. New works including The Worshipper, Dusk and Cinq Anneaux are also exhibited in England for the first time.

Over the last twenty years Luc Tuymans, who was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1958, has created a body of work that has had a profound impact on the direction of painting. Through a vast range of imagery he creates a collage of seemingly disconnected fragments, inspired by major historical events, human emotional states and everyday occurrences.

The J-Street Project is an installation, containing both video and photographic works.It is a complex 3 year study documenting every street in Germany whose name contains a reference to Jews - an extraordinary 303 place names. Susan Hiller was born in the USA in 1940 and rose to prominence in London during the 1970s. Her installations comment on the forgotten aspects of society and culture, and act as narratives which recall historical events that are visually and emotionally compelling.
Five talented Peter Moores Foundation (PMF) Scholars are to perform a programme of songs popular in the parlours and salons of 19th century Europe at Compton Verney over the weekend of 29 – 30 January as part of ‘The Grand Tour’. The programme was devised by Patric Schmid, a Governor of Compton Verney and Artistic Director of Opera Rara (who sadly died in December 2005), to simulate a musical entertainment which might have been enjoyed by intrepid travellers sampling the cultural delights of a ‘Grand Tour’ of the Continent.
Visit China at Compton Verney on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 February 2005. Not only will visitors be able to see the largest collection of bronzes in the UK outside of the British Museum, but also savour the delights of China in the café, experience Lion dancing and enjoy Kung Fu demonstrations while the kids can make a dragon in the workshop.
Compton Verney shortlisted for Gulbenkian prize

Cited as ‘a testament to one man’s lifelong passion for art’, Compton Verney is one of ten museums and galleries shortlisted for the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year 2005. The purpose of the prize is ‘to promote public awareness and appreciation of the role of all museums and galleries by highlighting excellent new work being undertaken in the sector by museums or galleries large or small’. Four finalists will be announced on 18 March and the winner on 26 May, during Museum & Galleries Month 2005.
The Portrait of Edward VI, attributed to the Flemish painter, William Scrots, was bought for Compton Verney on November 25, 2004 for £700,000.

This is amongst the most significant sixteenth-century paintings ever to have come on the market. Edward became King at the age of only nine in 1547 and died of consumption at the age of fifteen. Portraits of him are, therefore, extremely rare.
Compton Verney has two new exhibitions running until 5 June:

Only Make-Believe: Ways of Playing, curated by Marina Warner, explores the innate relationship between play, make-believe and art, in relation to the work of over thirty modern and contemporary artists.

Salvator Rosa: Wild Landscapes celebrates the work of this Neapolitan landscape artist who became something of a cult. His subjects, with their dramatic lighting and wild natural settings, complement the paintings in the permanent collection of Neapolitan art.
Compton Verney’s Big Screen relay of Rossini’s La Cenerentola from Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

On Saturday 4th June, Compton Verney will host a FREE outdoor screening of Rossini’s La Cenerentola, Cinderella, relayed live from Glyndebourne, directed by Peter Hall and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

The Evening Standard
‘First-rate Rossini’

The Financial Times
‘The opening night found the audience captivated by one of the best nights Glyndebourne has enjoyed for many a year.’

The Independent
‘I have never seen the ensembles more cunningly staged to bring out their conniving character. Each of the characters has something to hide, some secret that only we, the audience, are party to... There is an air of the madhouse about it... Rossini's immaculate anarchy at its most dazzling.’

This is only the second time that Glyndebourne has provided a Big Screen live relay and is the first to take place outside London. The production and the Big Screen relay are funded by the Peter Moores Foundation.

Some written responses received from the audience after the event:
‘Just to say what a marvellous treat your screening from Glyndebourne was last night. It was a stunning performance - and the organisation of the event was immaculate. Thank you Compton Verney.’
'We are not opera fans, but thought we should support this event as it was local (and free!) how glad we were that we went... perhaps we are now opera fans in the making!’
July
Edward VI joins Mrs Baldwin
Medieval German Art Collection gets a boost
A converging of passions
January
February
Exhibition: Luc Tuymans and Susan Hiller
Visit China
The American West
From 'makebelieve' to volcanoes
March
November
September
The Gulbenkian prize
Live opera comes to Compton Verney from Glyndebourne
June
July
December
Two important paintings were purchased for Compton Verney’s collection of medieval German art, at a Sotheby’s sale of old master paintings in July. Venus and Cupid, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, was bought for £2,100,000 and Maria Lactans: The Virgin and Child Crowned by Angels in a Window Embrasure by Martin Schongauer was purchased for £900,000.

These are part of a continuing purchasing programme for the gallery. This important collection of German paintings and sculptures, dates from 1450-1650 – a time when Germany was at the centre of religious upheaval and was enjoying an extraordinary flowering of art, which is currently under-represented in other British collections. These new purchases join a rare and beautiful limewood sculpture of A Female Saint by Tilman Riemenschneider and another work by Lucas Cranach.
An extremely rare and important archaic Chinese bronze has been bought at Sotheby’s New York for $8.1m (£4.14m) for Compton Verney, Warwickshire. The bronze is a ritual wine vessel and cover (fangjia) from the Late Shang Dynasty (13th-11th century BC) and was found at Anyang, the Dynasty’s capital, shortly before 1944.

It has been in the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, since 1953 and has never been exhibited outside the USA. Compton Verney’s Collection of Chinese bronzes is one of the three best in Europe. The newly acquired bronze is now on display.
Compton Verney wins top award.

Compton Verney has won the Civic Trust Special Award for Culture and Regeneration. Sponsored by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, this is one of the top Civic Trust awards, the majority of schemes getting either Commendations or the normal Civic Trust Award.

These awards recognise the very best in architecture, urban design, landscaping and public art; they are awarded to projects of the highest quality design, but only if they are also judged to have made a positive contribution to the local environment and helped improve the places where we live.
Compton Verney shortlisted for a family-friendly award

Compton Verney is one of 5 shortlisted for the second Guardian Family-Friendly Museum Award which attracted more than 1,000 nominations from readers. The judges’ ‘criterion for making the shortlist was simple: museums had to have made an effort to be family-friendly’. In what is a first for any museum award, young people themselves will pick the winner and ‘the museum that has extended the warmest welcome to families will be announced’ in The Guardian on July 6.
A Chinese Bronze bought which has never been seen outside the USA
The Civic Trust Special Award for Culture and Regeneration
The Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award
The wanderer returns
Portrait of Mrs Baldwin
One of the finest works by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) to come to auction in recent years, this painting was bought in July 2004 at Sotheby’s London, for Compton Verney for £3,365,600. One of the most glamorous, widely-esteemed women of her day, she was given leave of absence in 2005 to join other famous – and infamous - figures of Georgian society in an exceptional exhibition of Reynolds’s finest portraits. Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity shown in Ferrara and at Tate Britain. Her travels are now over and she is back in pride of place in the British Collection at Compton Verney.
2005