The East Midlands “Grand Tour”

By | Category: Travel destinations


In the eighteenth century, almost a rite of passage for wealthy individuals was to take the grand tour- a trip around the sights of Europe which could last months. From those visits some of our stately homes acquired many of the treasures on display for us to see when we visit them.

A contemporary Grand Tour has been created but this time it takes in just galleries, museums and a stately home across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. Nottingham Contemporary, Chatsworth, Derby Museums and The Harley Gallery, Welbeck have joined together to create a contemporary reinterpretation of The Grand Tour.  With a focus on attracting visitors and growing cultural tourism, the project will feature unique artistic and architectural riches of the region, presented over two seasons, July-September 2015 and March-June 2016.

This modern day Grand Tour will reveal hidden treasures from private collections, juxtaposing them with contemporary art exhibitions across the four venues so that they are seen in a new light.  A number of pieces from the Baroque and Enlightenment periods of the collections at Derby Museums, Chatsworth and Welbeck, which until now have been housed out of sight, will go on display to the public. In addition, contemporary artists Pablo Bronstein, Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling, Rose English, Peter Blake and architect Rem Koolhaas, have been invited to create and present work for the Grand Tour.

Funding for The Grand Tour was awarded to Nottingham Contemporary as part of the joint Arts Council England and Visit England Cultural Destinations programme, which supports arts and cultural organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that aim to maximize the impact arts and culture has on local economies, with further support from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, said: “Grand Tourists transformed British taste by bringing home with them a fascination with the culture of the ancient world, and its influence on the artistic innovations of the day. Our own Grand Tour builds on this history through exhilarating encounters between leading contemporary artists and these world-class collections. Contemporary art will shed a new light on the cultural riches of the region through a new Grand Tour that is completely of its time.”


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