The Courtauld Institute of Art is delighted to announce that it has secured £9.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards Phase One of a major transformation programme, “Courtauld Connects”.
With the generous support of the HLF, The Courtauld is poised to launch its biggest programme of development since moving to Somerset House in 1989. Revitalising this splendid eighteenth-century building will make it possible for more people than ever before, and for publics of far greater diversity, to benefit from the full range of The Courtauld’s activities and resources – from its rich collections to its scholarship and its built heritage in Somerset House. The Courtauld Connects project will enable The Courtauld to assert its identity as a truly national resource, and in so doing to realise the vision of its founder Samuel Courtauld, that art is and must be for all.
“Courtauld Connects” overall will be a £50m project. Phase One will focus on The Courtauld’s collection and built heritage, its conservation work and its public engagement, both in Somerset House and nationally.
The HLF award is the latest in a series of generous donations to the project and brings the income raised to date to £18.4m of the £30m needed for Phase One. It enables The Courtauld to progress with its planning, fundraising and delivery of Phase One, with its significant public benefits:
- Additional space for the display of The Courtauld Gallery’s growing permanent collection
- The Great Room restored and represented as the culmination of the visitor experience
- Improved presentation of the collection in the historic Fine Rooms
- A new temporary exhibition space
- A remodelled entrance that will enable all visitors to access The Courtauld Gallery comfortably and will improve general access to Somerset House
- Improved and enlarged visitor facilities
- A new Learning Centre which will double the number of school children, families and community groups which can use The Courtauld’s facilities
- Newly integrated back of house facilities for storage and art handling and improved spaces for The Courtauld’s Department of Conservation and Technology.
Additionally, the project will include:
- An online archive of 1.1m images from The Courtauld’s extensive image collection with a crowd-sourcing programme involving 10,000 people
- The creation of a digital resource capturing visual and documentary sources about Somerset House
- A new Public Research Forum that will provide audiences nationally and internationally with a platform for debate and share knowledge about topical issues in the arts.
- A significant new partnership programme with 13 organisations across the country.
“Courtauld Connects” actively seeks to reconnect The Courtauld to the people of the towns and cities where Courtaulds Ltd once had a major industrial presence, including Coventry, Preston, Belfast Braintree, Bolton, Holywell in Wales and Norwich. Building on this focus with people and place, these collaborative partnerships will involve loans and skill exchange programmes with museums and educational institutions and will capture and celebrate the unrecorded heritage of the people who worked in Courtaulds’ textile businesses.
The Courtauld has already initiated a pilot project with the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry, with which it has shared an important group of Impressionist works by Edgar Degas. Vase of Flowers by Claude Monet will travel to the Harris Art Gallery in Preston and Dejeuner sur l’Herbe by Edouard Manet will be lent to the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
Phase Two of “Courtauld Connects” will be a £20m programme, which aims to provide state of the art facilities for research, learning and teaching.
The Courtauld is delighted to be working with Stirling Prize-winning architects, Witherford Watson Mann on the project. They are developing a masterplan that works with the grain of the historic building to carefully restore important spaces whilst transforming the public’s access and experience of The Courtauld’s activities.
Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director, The Courtauld, said “We are delighted to receive the Heritage Lottery Fund award which enables us to progress with our plans for Phase One of Courtauld Connects. We are taking Samuel Courtauld’s vision of art for all and reimagining The Courtauld for the 21st Century so that new audiences around the world can benefit from our work and his legacy.
“This is only the first phase; there is still much to do and we have further funds to raise. But as we embark on the elements of Phase One, we want to share our exciting plans for the future. We are hugely grateful to the HLF for its generous support for Courtauld Connects and its endorsement of our commitment to making our academic excellence and rich collection available to as many people as possible.”
Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, commented that “The Courtauld is home to one of the most outstanding art collections in Britain; our funding will help to unlock these treasures by revitalising the “gateway” of its Somerset House site and re-energising their work with communities outside the capital. We were particularly impressed with plans for a Learning Centre to host programmes tailored for children and young people. What better way to thank National Lottery players than by bringing back Samuel Courtauld’s vision of ‘art for all’!”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate and Courtauld alumnus, said “The Courtauld is a world class teaching institution allied to an outstanding collection. “Courtauld Connects” is a bold venture that will open the resources of both parts of The Courtauld to new audiences in London, nationally and internationally. The improvements to the galleries and public facilities have been designed by architects with a deep sympathy for art and the needs of audiences. Overall, “Courtauld Connects” is an exciting contemporary expression of Samuel Courtauld’s belief that ‘art is for the people’.
Gary Hall, Chief Executive Culture Coventry, said “We are delighted to be forming a link with The Courtauld. Courtaulds was a major employer in Coventry so it is exciting now to be receiving a cultural benefit from that legacy. The loan of Degas’ Dancers to the Herbert Art Gallery has been exceptionally well received locally, illustrating the significant interest for these loans so we look forward to working with the Courtauld team on further projects.”