Amgueddfa Blog: Casgliadau ac Ymchwil

Just prior to lockdown we were able to run the first LGBTQ+ tours at the National Museum Cardiff which were created in partnership with Pride Cymru. As the doors unlock and visitors can start to return to the museum and also to mark and celebrate Pride Cymru 2020, I would like to share with you my favourite set of objects from the tours.

Teithiau LGBTQ+
© Dan Vo @DanNouveau

An Encounter with May and Mary

Clasbau llawes a wnaed gan May Morris (1862-1938)

When I first saw the exquisite silver sleeve clasps with a centrally suspended chrysoprase teardrop gemstone flanked by two apple-green orbs, I was utterly charmed. What rooted me to the spot and caused goosebumps to tickle my skin though was the name of the owner and the donor: Miss May Morris, given by Miss M. F. V. Lobb.

Echoing in my mind was a talk, The Great Wings of Silence, that I’d seen Dr Sean Curran deliver at an LGBT+ History Month event at the V&A museum on their relationship. Curran also wrote about May Morris (1862-1938) and Mary Frances Vivian Lobb (1879-1939) saying, “people like Mary Lobb and May Morris are part of a still barely visible queer heritage that can contribute to legitimising contemporary queer identities”.

I felt what I was seeing was evidence of their relationship. Though, as it turns out, there are two great collections that hold jewellery made by May and gifted by Mary, National Museum Cardiff and my ‘home collection’ of the V&A. Somewhat ironic! 

 

The Welsh Connection

The link between May and the V&A, I think, is easy to deduce: William Morris had significant influence in the early years of the V&A and after he died May, a respected artist in her own right, carried on his work teaching about good design principles and maintained a strong relationship with the museum. 

While the Morris family were proud of their Welsh ancestry, the question of how May’s jewellery ended up specifically at National Museum Cardiff involves a curious path that takes in sites from all across Wales, and certainly affirms the significant relationship between May and Mary.

May was a skilled jewellery maker and embroiderer and took charge of the embroidery department of her father’s renowned company Morris & Co. when she was 23. By the time Mary came into her life, May was living alone in the Morris family summer residence, Kelmscott Manor in the Cotswold.

Mary was from a Cornish farming family and during the First World War and as an early recruit to the Women’s Land Army she was involved in demonstrations showing how women could support the war efforts, even making the news with a headline “Cornish Woman Drives Steam Roller”!

At some point after the war, Mary joined May at Kelmscott Manor and the couple became a familiar sight, even attending local events together. Then, perhaps as it is for some now, not everyone was sure what to make of the relationship: Mary has been variously described as Morris’s close companion, housekeeper, cook, and even bodyguard!

When May died in 1938 she bequeathed her personal effects and £12,000 to Mary, an amount larger than any she left to anyone else. She also secured the tenure of Kelmscott for the rest of Mary’s life, however, Mary tragically died five months later in 1939. In those short months, Mary arranged the donation of May’s jewellery as well as her own scrapbooks to the National Library of Wales.

The scrapbooks were not given much consideration and were broken up and scattered across various sections of the library. It was researcher Simon Evans who began slowly reassembling the collection, and as he did so started to realise the significance and how it helps paint a clearer picture of the relationship between May and Mary.

Rediscovered items include watercolour landscapes painted by May, which suggests the pair traveled extensively together across Wales with journeys including Cardigan, Gwynedd, Swansea, Talyllyn and Cader Idris (one of my favourite images of the couple is a photograph from the William Morris Gallery that shows them camping in the Welsh countryside).

 

The Queer Perspective

Sandwiched in the scrapbooks is also a cryptic note in a letter from May to Mary, "after posting letter, I just grasped the thread at the end of yours, and having grasped (how slow of me!) I will be most careful.” 

To contextualise, Evans also describes a postcard (at Kelmscott Manor), written on a trip in Wales, in which Mary asked someone back at the Manor to send Morris’s shawl which is in "our" bedroom, which seems to put to bed the rumour May and Mary shared a room. Further, writer and curator Jan Marsh concludes in her book Jane and May Morris by saying the relationship between May and Mary was, in contemporary terms, a lesbian one.

Teithiau LGBTQ+
© Dan Vo @DanNouveau

Through the jewelry gifted to the National Museum Cardiff we have a small glimpse of two lives intertwined, an intimate relationship between May and Mary that was full of love, care, and concern for each other. Theirs is one story among many on the free volunteer-led LGBTQ+ tours, which will return in the future when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, labels for 18 objects have now been written that help highlight works with an LGBTQ+ connection for visitors. Connected to the May and Mary is a stunning hair ornament, which resembles a tiara, formed by floral shapes studded with pearls, opals, and garnets with silver leaves, all meeting symmetrically in the middle of the head. 

There are landscapes and a self-portrait by Swansea born painter Cedric Morris and several portraits by the renowned Gwen John who hails from Haverfordwest, as well as a bust of her by lover Rodin. Other highlights include works by Francis Bacon, John Minton, Christopher Wood, and 'Brunette' - a ceramic bust of Hollywood star Greta Garbo by Susie Cooper.

It is also now possible to explore the museum’s queer collection online by searching for ‘LGBTQ’ in the Collections Online. This will allow you to see works like The Wounded Amazon by Conwy sculptor John Gibson, a painting of Fisher Boys by Methyr Tydfil born artist Penry Williams (Gibson and Williams lived together in Rome and are understood to be lovers), and a ceramic plate that features perhaps the most famous lesbian couple in history, the Ladies of Llangollen, who lived together at Plâs Newydd. 

It is a joy and a privilege to be able to share the rich history of Welsh queer culture in such a historic place. I'm pleased to say the tours and the related research are merely just getting started! There are so many more stories to be found and told, many that will take us down interesting intersectional paths too. So do stay tuned for more from the National Museum Cardiff and Pride Cymru volunteers. 

For now I wish you a happy Pride. However you’re celebrating it, I hope it’s with as much sparkle as May and Mary’s glamorous bling! 

Arweinwyr teithiau LGBTQ+


Dan Vo is a freelance museum consultant who founded the V&A LGBTQ+ Tours and developed the Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd National Museum Cardiff LGBTQ+ Tours. He is currently the project manager and lead researcher of the Queer Heritage and Collections Nework, a subject specialist network supported by the Art Fund formed of a partnership between the National Trust, English Heritage, Historic England, Historic Royal Palaces and the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (University of Leicester).

Lewis Weston Dillwyn (1778-1855)

Lewis Weston Dillwyn is part of the influential Dillwyn family in south Wales during the 19th century. They were pioneers in photography, culture, industry, politics and science. Lewis Weston himself was a campaigner for social justice, a Whig MP for Glamorgan (1832-37), mayor of Swansea (1839) and a magistrate. He studied the natural world and advanced our scientific understanding of it, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society and a founder member of the Royal Institution of South Wales.

Lewis Weston was born 1778 to William Dillwyn, an American Quaker and anti-slave campaigner. After settling in England in 1777, William was one of the 12 founding committee members for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade formed in 1787. In 1802, William established Lewis Weston Dillwyn, then aged 25, as owner of Cambrian Pottery in Swansea. A year later Lewis Weston moved to south Wales and four years after that married Mary Adams, heiress of John Llewellyn, firmly establishing the Dillwyn-Llewellyn family’s influential position in south Wales. He was an abolitionist like his father but was also close friends with the De la Beche family who owned slave plantations up until the early 1830s. His son Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn married Elizabeth De la Beche in 1838.

It was mainly during the time he was head of Cambrian Pottery that Lewis Weston studied algae.

The Book of Algae

Lewis Weston had a scientific interest in the natural world, most notably plants, beetles and molluscs. At a time when art, industry and science were often pursued in conjunction with one another rather than separately, he introduced many natural history designs onto the products made at his Cambrian Pottery.

The Museum holds Lewis Weston Dillwyn’s book of pressed seaweeds and algae. Inside are over 280 specimens of algae from both fresh and seawater, mainly from Wales and England. Many are thought to have been collected by Dillwyn himself, and many were sent to him by scientists from the UK and Ireland. The book contains algae that were completely new to science and described by Dillwyn for the first time. Some of these new to science algae were discovered for the very first time in Wales. The book is an early record of the natural heritage of Wales and a glimpse into the scientific life of a prominent 19th century philanthropist.

New to Science

It was particularly between 1800 and 1810 that Lewis Weston Dillwyn focussed on algae. He noted that Linnaeus, who was classifying the whole of the natural world, “was too busily engaged in the immense field he had entered on, to spare the time necessary for an investigation of the submerged Algae.” (Dillwyn, 1809, British Confervae). Dillwyn felt he had found a niche for his scientific study.

The algae that Lewis Weston studied was a group with very thin fine branching known as the Confervae. He collected specimens, pressed them and placed them into the book now held at the Museum. His many connections led to a network of scientists who would send him specimens he was interested in to his home in south Wales. He described 80 kinds of algae new to science.

Someone in Dillwyn’s position could afford to buy a microscope powerful enough to study this group which have very small features. He would also have needed expensive books and his standing in society meant he was able to access the libraries of friends such as William Jackson Hooker and of the Linnaean Society in London, where he was made a Fellow. It also meant he was able to discuss current thinking with other prominent scientists of the time and gauge where to place his efforts.

At the time, there had been little work done on this difficult to study group. Dillwyn knew the algae he was looking at were probably unrelated, but in his published work he put them into one group. He had done the initial pioneering groundwork to describe them but he himself modestly admitted that it was flawed. The pressed algae in his book at the Museum includes what scientists now know belong in many different groups: green algae, red algae, brown algae, lichens, fungi, cyanobacteria, stoneworts and diatoms. Dillwyn published the results of his studies in instalments, culminating in the publication ‘British Confervae’ in 1809.

 

Further reading

The Diaries of Lewis Weston Dillwyn, transcribed by Richard Morris: https://www.swansea.ac.uk/crew/research-projects/dillwyn/diaries/lewis-weston-dillwyn-diaries/

The Dillwyn Dynasty by David Painting (2002): https://www.swansea.ac.uk/crew/research-projects/dillwyn/dillwyn-day/dillwyn-dynasty/

British Confervae by Lewis Weston Dillwyn: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/2189#/summary

Mae mis wedi mynd heibio ers i ni lawnsio ein holiadur Casglu Covid digidol. Os gofiwch chi, nod yr ymgyrch hon yw casglu profiadau unigolion a chymunedau ar draws Cymru am fywyd yn ystod y pandemig presennol.  

Hyd yn hyn, rydym wedi derbyn dros 800 o gyfraniadau cynhwysfawr, gyda’r niferoedd yn cynyddu bob dydd. Mae’r holiadur yn rhoi cyfle i bobl fyfyrio ar eu profiadau diweddar, i fynegi eu teimladau a’u hemosiynau, yn ogystal â’u dyheadau a’u pryderon am y dyfodol. Mae’r ymatebion sydd wedi dod i law yn du hwnt o bwerus – straeon am golled a dioddefaint, pryder ac unigrwydd, ochr yn ochr â thystiolaeth am ddyfeisgarwch a charedigrwydd teulu a chymdogion. Dyma flas o rai o’r cyfraniadau hyd yma.

Mae nifer o fy ffrindiau lleol a minnau wedi teimlo'n euog am gael cystal amser yn y pandemig – heb golli anwyliaid eto, heb golli swyddi… Mi fydd felly yn ddyletswydd ar y rhai ohonom sydd wedi cadw neu atgyfnerthu ein iechyd meddwl i chwarae rhan gweithgar yn cefnogi y rhai llai ffodus pan awn yn ôl at rywbeth tebycach i'r hen arferion. Bydded hynny trwy helpu 1-1 neu trwy weithredu'n wleidyddol neu rhywbeth arall.

Sali, Gwynedd

Methu ymweld â fy mam yng nghyfraith 96 oed yn yr ysbyty a ninnau'n gwybod gymaint oedd ei hiraeth am ei theulu. Welon ni ddim mohoni am fis cyn ei marwolaeth. Gorfod mynd â dillad a sebon iddi yn yr ysbyty ond ddim yn cael mynd ymhellach na desg y dderbynfa a hithau ond ychydig lathenni i ffwrdd. Eistedd yn y ty dros benwythnos y Pasg yn aros i'r ysbyty ffonio i gyhoeddi ei marwolaeth ar ôl iddyn nhw ddweud bod y diwedd o fewn ychydig oriau, ac nad oedd modd i ni ei gweld.

Sylfia, Pontypridd

Mae'r emosiynau yn newid o ddiwrnod i ddiwrnod. Diolch byth bod gen i deulu i gael cwtsho. Meddwl am rai sydd methu cael cwtsh wrth eu teuluoedd.

Rhian, Abertawe

Dwi di siarad mwy yn y clo hwn nag erioed. Gynt rhyw 'Sut ma hi heddiw?' ac ymlaen oedd hi. Rwan da ni'n aros a chael sgwrs iawn a diddorol o un ochr y lon i'r llall… Mae arferion yn treiddio i'r meddwl. Heddiw mi geis fy hun yn dal dair metr o'r wraig, ac yna sylweddoli, 'be ti'n neud?' Mae pob am dro di bod yn igam ogam, ond y sgwrsio di bod yn fwy ar draws ffordd, o bafin i bafin.

Di-enw, Llanrug

Mae fy nheimladau'n dod fel tonnau. Gallai fod yn ddiolchgar, derbyn y sefyllfa a trio gweld positif yn y sefyllfa ar y mwyaf ond reit ddagreuol dros bethau bach adeg eraill.

Leri, Caerdydd

Yn bositif, y gwanwyn godidog na'th helpu cymaint. Y gwasanaeth hollol wych greodd siop y pentre i'r gymuned. Mynd ati i goginio cacennau a phlanu hadau, ac agor gwely llysie – fel pawb arall mae'n debyg! Pethau gwych fel COR-ONA ar Facebook a gweld y fath dalent greadigol yn dod at ei gilydd yng Nghymru i godi calon a diddanu.

Cathryn, Cilgerran

Diolch o galon i bawb sydd wedi cyfrannu eu profiadau hyd yn hyn. Drwy ymateb a chymryd rhan, rydych yn ein helpu i greu archif anhygoel fydd yn galluogi cenedlaethau’r dyfodol i ddeall sut brofiad oedd byw drwy COVID-19 yng Nghymru.

 

News of a very special new fossil from north Wales was recently published in the scientific journal Royal Society Open ScienceI was lucky enough to be involved in the study of the fossil, which was led by Dr Stephen Pates of Harvard University and also included two Museum Honorary Research Fellows, Dr Joe Botting and Dr Lucy Muir.  Joe and Lucy found the fossil back in 2012, during fieldwork funded by the National Geographic Society, and donated it to the Museum along with other fascinating fossils from the same site, including various sponges and worms.  The fossil was not looked at in any detail until Stephen visited the Museum last year to research other fossils from our collections.  His experience told him that it looked like something unusual, so we decided to investigate further.  We studied it under the microscope and took detailed photographs, which were then compared with fossils from other places.  It turned out to be not only an animal previously unknown to science, but the first of its kind ever to be found in the UK, and probably the smallest known example of its kind.

The stream section near Arenig Fawr in north Wales where the new fossil was found.

Where is the fossil from?

The fossil was found in a block of rock collected from a stream section close to the Arenig Fawr mountain, near Bala in north Wales.  You can see a video of Joe collecting fossils at the site here.  It comes from the Dol-cy-Afon Formation, rocks that were laid down in the sea around 480 million years ago. What we think of as Wales today, was at that time part of a continent called Avalonia, which was located in the southern hemisphereThe animal was fossilised inside a large burrow, along with remains of other small creatures.  We don't know if it was intentionally brought in by the burrow's owner (as a meal perhaps), or if its remains just happened to be present in mud that was pulled in during burrowing. 

 

What kind of fossil is it?

The new fossil radiodont 'claw'.

The fossil is tiny, less than 2mm long.  It looks a bit like a comb, with long, thin spines coming off a chunkier shaft.  It is actually only part of an animal, a 'claw' used by a creature called a radiodont for feeding with.  Radiodonts are relatives of modern-day arthropods such as crabs, insects, spiders and scorpions - segmented animals with hard skins.  They were unusual in lacking the jointed legs that their distant cousins scuttle around on.  Instead, they had a row of overlapping flaps along the sides of their segmented body, used for swimming rapidly through the ocean.  They had large eyes on the end of stalks, one of the features that equipped them to be the earliest known group of large predators to exist on Earth.  The new Welsh fossil represents one of a pair of large segmented, spiny claws, which these animals had at the front of their head for capturing food.

Radiodont means 'wheel spoke tooth', a name that reflects their circular mouth, which had a ring of hard, sharp-edged plates that looks a bit like a pineapple ring with razor-sharp teeth.  The most famous member of the group is Anomalocaris, first found in Canada's Burgess Shale and thought to have been top predator in the seas over 500 million years ago.  If Jaws had been made about the Cambrian Period when it lived, the film might have been called Claws and Anomalocaris would've been the reason not to go back in the water.  It is thought to have spied its prey using its large eyes, swooped down and grabbed it with its spiny claws, and then crushed it between the hard plates of its circular mouth.  

But while Anomalocaris was a giant for its time, one of the largest animals in existence 500 million years ago at up to half a metre in length, the new Welsh animal was tiny.  The whole creature is estimated to have been only around a centimetre long.  That makes it the smallest radiodont fossil ever found.  We can't tell if it was a fully-grown adult or not, because, as far as we know, juvenile radiodonts looked like their parents.

 

What did it look like and how did it feed?

Reconstruction of Hurdia victoria, a close relative of the new Welsh radiodont from Canada.  White arrow points to the 'claws', equivalent to the Welsh fossil.  Credit: image adapted from original by Apokryltaros, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Not all radiodonts were predators like Anomalocaris. Features of their 'claws' provide evidence about how they likely lived.  Some had tiny secondary spines coming off the long main spines, creating a network of fine combs that they used for sifting food particles out of mud at the bottom of the sea, or for filtering them out of the water.  The Welsh fossil 'claw' has a small number of these secondary spines on it, and it may originally have had these along the full length of the main spines.  In any case, its main spines are very close together, which suggests that it was either using them as filters to trap small food particles, or was using them to actively pick up very small items of food. 

Although we have only found the fossilised 'claw' of this animal, the bodies of other known radiodonts are all fairly similar, so we can make a good educated guess as to what the rest of it probably looked like.  It is likely to have looked similar to one of its closest known relatives, Hurdia, which is known from North America and the Czech Republic.  The head was likely covered in a tough carapace with stalked eyes, a mouth underneath consisting of a circle of tooth plates, and the pair of claws attached in front of the mouth to capture and shovel in its food.  The segmented body likely narrowed backwards, and had an overlapping row of flaps along its sides for swimming, with gills along its back for breathing.  Almost all radiodonts, like the Welsh animal, would have been good swimmers, perhaps spending much of their time skimming along just above the sea bed in search of food.  Intriguingly, this tiny Welsh animal is a very similar age to the largest radiodont ever discovered, its relative Aegirocassis from Morocco, which reached two metres in length.  By 480 million years ago, radiodonts had clearly adapted to life at both ends of the size scale.

The radiodont shared its home with a huge variety of different sponges.  There were also various kinds of worms around, trilobites, shellfish including brachiopods and primitive molluscs, and primitive relatives of starfish.

 

What can I do if I find an unusual-looking fossil?

Reconstruction of Aegirocassis benmoulai, the largest radiodont ever discovered.  It lived in Morocco at around the same time as its relative, the new Welsh radiodont.  White arrow points to the 'claws', equivalent to the Welsh fossil

Credit: image adapted from original by Nobu Tamura, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

As this fossil shows, there are still lots of exciting new things to discover in Wales.  If you find something that looks interesting and you're not sure what it is, our Museum scientists would be happy to try to identify it for you, whether it's a fossil, rock, mineral, animal or plant.  Just send us a photo (with a coin or ruler included for scale) with details of where you found it.  You can contact us via our website or on Twitter: @CardiffCurator

Since lockdown began, I have found myself spending more time than ever peering in to people’s windows. Not because I’m nosy (well, maybe just a little) but because our streets have become almost living galleries, with art popping up in windows everywhere – mostly rainbow art, as symbols of hope.

This got me thinking about the rainbows in the national art collection, like the Turner watercolour given to us by Gwendoline Davies in 1952 as part of the Davies sisters bequest; Thomas Hornor’s rushing waterfall rainbow; and this more melancholic painting in the manner of Constable of a rainbow cutting through dark clouds, with a solitary figure at a fence seemingly oblivious to the rainbow above.

Comfort on our doorsteps

The weather was a constant source of fascination to Constable. He was drawn to rainbows as a scientific spectacle, and also for their calming effects. He once said ‘nature… exhibits no feature more lovely nor any that awaken a more soothing reaction than the rainbow’. For Constable, the rainbow represented a glimmer of hope in tumultuous times – something that may resonate with many of us today, as we struggle to come to terms with traumatic world events.

Constable believed artists should paint views and subjects with deep personal connections – things that they know and love; things that have stirred their senses and emotions. He once said that ‘painting is but another word for feeling’. For some, this is key to understanding his art. Constable’s paintings are not meant to looked at – they are meant to be felt.

Much of his work was inspired by childhood memories of his native Suffolk. A Cottage in a Cornfield shows a humble cottage in the country, with what appears to be a little donkey and foal hiding in the shadows at the gate – a simple scene he saw every day on his way to school as a boy. He delighted in the smallest details – things that many of his contemporaries in the nineteenth century art would have overlooked. ‘The sound of water escaping from mill dams, willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things’ he wrote. Nothing was too commonplace, too mundane to be in his paintings. He saw beauty in things that at the time were not considered worthy to be the subject for art. He teaches us to find beauty in the everyday, and comfort on our doorsteps.

Today lockdown has stripped many of us right back to basics, and we are being encouraged to seek comfort and value the everyday more than ever before. We would love to see the things that are helping you get through these difficult times. You can share your #ObjectsofComfort with @AmgueddfaCymru on Twitter, or follow to see the items in our collections that have brought comfort to different people through the ages. 

Learning from Constable’s rainbows

Six years ago I had the privilege of being part of the Aspire partnership project which saw Constable’s incredible six-footer  painting Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831 (Tate) displayed at National Museum Cardiff, after it was saved for the nation in 2013. 

The painting shows Salisbury Cathedral under a storm-heavy sky, a flash of lightning striking its roof. When he began paiting it in 1831, Constable was caught up in his own personal storm. His wife Maria had died from tuberculosis, leaving Constable to raise their seven children alone. He was also plagued by anxiety about political and religious changes raging around him. The painting is seen as an expression of the deep anxieties Constable felt at this time - anxieties, which were nonetheless mixed with a glimmer of hope for the future, symbolised by the faint rainbow. It is no coincidence that the rainbow ends at Leadenhall, the home of his friend and patron John Fisher who supported him through his darkest days.

Alongside the display we co-ordinated a series of learning activities, working with different visitor groups to create artworks and poems inspired by this painting. Over 6000 people took part in the programme, and I loved seeing the creative responses like these amazing pop-up rainbow landscapes made in family workshops. The animated light projections made by school groups working with artist Anne-Mie Melis , and CPD workshops for teachers led by poet clare e. potter were also real highlights.

Hope and broken hearts

What struck me during this project is that people of all ages responded so openly to the painting, and how it sometimes opened up dialogues about complex emotional states like grief, loss, hope and happiness.

One young pupil, Charles, asked ‘why does the dog look up for hope but the horses look down with their broken hearts?’; another, after learning that it took Constable four years to complete this painting, wondered ‘can you be that sad for that long? cos for every day you have a different feeling.’ I think about these questions even six years later: how emotions are never seperate - they intermingle and change so easily - and how our emotional states are never static, but are in a constant state of flux, which can sometimes make them difficult to deal with because they seem impossible to control.

This, I think, is why we need art and creativity more than ever. Not because I think art will solve the issues we are facing today - but perhaps it has a role in helping us to ask the right questions, and in teaching us how to feel our way through, together.

 

In 2013 Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831 was secured for the British public through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Manton Foundation, the Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation) and Tate Members. The acquisition was part of Aspire, a five year partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service, The Salisbiry Museum, National Galleries of Scotland and Tate Britain, sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund.

To secure the painting, a unique partnership initiative was formed between five public collections: Tate Britain, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum and the National Galleries of Scotland. This initiative, named Aspire, was a five-year project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Art Fund enabling the work to be viewed in partner venues across the UK. National Museum Cardiff was the first venue to display the work.