The National Gallery announces 2018 Masterpiece Tour

admin December 7, 2017 Comments Off on The National Gallery announces 2018 Masterpiece Tour
The National Gallery announces 2018 Masterpiece Tour

Photo © The National Gallery, London 

Hans Holbein the Younger’s A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, a much-loved work from the National Gallery Collection, is travelling the UK in 2018/19 as part of the Masterpiece Tour.

The three venues for 2018 are The New Art Gallery Walsall, Shetland Museum & Archives and Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.

The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible. This opportunity to bring hugely popular works to the public’s doorstep is being made possible by the generous support of Christie’s.


Photo © The National Gallery, London 


Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said: 

“The National Gallery was created for the benefit of the British public, however we appreciate that some people may find it difficult to make the journey to London. We hope that the tour of this great Holbein masterpiece will reach people who have never visited their national collection or haven’t done so for a long time, and that many of those whom we do reach will then feel inspired to visit or revisit the collection. We are pleased to include these three venues in the Masterpiece Tour for 2018 and look forward to seeing the different ways in which this much loved portrait will be exhibited in each setting.”


Likely painted during Holbein’s first brief visit to England in 1526-8, A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling is most closely comparable to the portraits of those years and the sitter’s dress appears to be English in style. The sitter has not been identified with complete certainty, but the starling in the background and the pet squirrel on a chain are visual clue suggesting the sitter may have been Anne Lovell. Squirrels featured in the Lovell family coat of arms and were common pets in sixteenth-century England.

The sitter in the National Gallery painting is unlikely to have posed with either the squirrel or the starling: Holbein probably made separate studies of them in drawings.


For more information the National Gallery, and the Masterpiece Tour, please Click Here.

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