Funded with Thanks

By Eleanor Hutchison, Assistant Curator

Funded with Thanks is our new exhibition showcasing works from RAMM’s Fine Art Collection. This display explores how some of the most significant and recognisable works of art in the collection have been acquired thanks to the generosity of donors and funding bodies.

Some of RAMM’s most well-loved artworks will be on display, including William Powell Frith’s ‘The Fair Toxophilites’. The three women depicted in the picture are based on the artist’s daughters, Alice, Fanny and Louisa (left to right). The painting was valued as a novel family portrait and remained with Frith’s descendants, rarely exhibited, until acquired by RAMM in 1976. It was purchased with assistance from the V&A Purchase Grant and the Sir Harry Veitch Bequest Trust Fund.

The Fair Toxophilites by William Powell Frith depicting three women in elegant dress holding a bow and arrow
The Fair Toxophilites by William Powell Frith

Also on display is Frank Holl’s ‘The Song of the Shirt’. The painting is based on a poem by Thomas Hood about a needle-woman employed on meagre wages. Holl’s evocative social realism attracted the praise of Vincent Van Gogh who regarded him as one of Britain’s best painters.

Francis Hayman, who was one of the founding members of the Royal Academy, painted a portrait of himself in his studio in about 1734. It is believed this work originally formed a single composition with a ‘Portrait of a Lady’, also in RAMM’s collection. It is thought to depict Hayman’s first wife, Elizabeth Spurway. They married in 1734 and had a child the following year who died in infancy. Evidence suggests that Elizabeth may also have died young. The artist’s motivation for dividing his painting may have been bereavement rather than estrangement. This acquisition of this portrait was supported by the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund and the Friends of RAMM in 2007.

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