The National Gallery Masterpiece Tour 2018

Hans Holbein the Younger

A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell?), about 1526-8 Oil on oak
56 x 38.8 cm

© The National Gallery, London. Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund and Mr J. Paul Getty Jnr (through the American Friends of the National Gallery, London), 1992

Five hundred years after the dazzling genius of Hans Holbein, a painting by one of the greatest portraitists of all time can now be seen in Shetland.

The 1520s A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling, by Hans Holbein the Younger, is being loaned by the National Gallery, as part of their Masterpiece Tour 2018.

Holbein is famous for creating astonishingly lifelike portraits in the court of Henry VIII and his ministers. The painting coming to Shetland depicts a sitter (possibly Anne Lovell) with creatures that symbolise her family estate and coat of arms.

Shetland Museum and Archives periodically brings loans so local audiences can enjoy culture from further afield, but this is by far the most prestigious of any cultural object to have been exhibited here. Mat Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of Shetland Amenity Trust said: “I’m delighted that locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy and learn about the work of an art history giant, in so unexpected a place as Shetland. We’re indebted to the lenders and sponsors who have allowed Trust staff to facilitate such a landmark event for our islands”.

Dr Ian Tait, Curator, added: “This is a momentous exhibition for us. Islanders have never before had the chance to appreciate such a cultural treasure in their midst and we’re honored that the National Gallery chose us as their exhibition venue. I’m sure that Shetlanders will remember this prestigious loan for years to come.”

Exhibitions Officer John Hunter explained the painting’s significance: “It takes you to the 16th century, when portraiture can be seen as social media; information was communicated through the inventiveness and imagination of the artist. The portrait’s power comes from the quality of technique and its subtle moral message. Holbein gives the sitter immortality in the form of a likeness, and he tempers this perceived arrogance by incorporating fig leaves which symbolised original sin, reminding the sitter and viewer of their mortality. The sensitivity in this portrait goes a long way to giving this Lady life.”

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Christie’s, we can offer an engaging events programme for all ages across the loan period. Families, children and adults can take part in artist led portraiture workshops. There will be a series of talks and lectures about Holbein and the times in which he lived, culminating in a key note talk on Holbein from the National Gallery’s Deputy Director, Dr Susan Foister at the end of May. Schools can participate in a fun educational programme, developed to introduce pupils to this masterpiece painting and portraiture. For would be Tudor Royals, we have a photo booth with period costumes for dressing up - have your picture taken in the fashions of the day.

Shetland Museum and Archives will have a range of items on sale that celebrate the glorious art of Tudor times. From toy squirrels to academic guides on Holbein, the products on offer provide a chance for all ages to take home a reminder of their visit.

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.

The painting will be exhibited from 4th May – 15th July 2018.

Find out more about the exhibition and related events.

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, Christie’s, we can offer an engaging events programme for all ages across the loan period. Families, children and adults can take part in artist led portraiture workshops. There will be a series of talks and lectures about Holbein and the times in which he lived, culminating in a key note talk on Holbein from the National Gallery’s Deputy Director, Dr Susan Foister at the end of May. Schools can participate in a fun educational programme, developed to introduce pupils to this masterpiece painting and portraiture. For would be Tudor Royals, we have a photo booth with period costumes for dressing up - have your picture taken in the fashions of the day.

Shetland Museum and Archives will have a range of items on sale that celebrate the glorious art of Tudor times. From toy squirrels to academic guides on Holbein, the products on offer provide a chance for all ages to take home a reminder of their visit.

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.

Related Posts

Shetland Museum and Archives launches series of ‘Thursday Lates’ heritage talks

Evenings celebrating Shetland’s rich culture and heritage will begin next month as Shetland Museum and Archives launches its ...

Read more

Be My Valentine

It’s that time of year, Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February. In the Shetland Archives Catalogue references to Valentines are ...

Read more

Shetland Museum celebrates Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2024

The Shetland Museum & Archives was full of activity last week as we celebrated Lerwick Up Helly Aa with a series of fiery events and ...

Read more

Shetland Amenity Trust’s heritage sites open for this year’s Up Helly Aa

The fiery season will soon be back and Shetland Amenity Trust is putting together a series of events as well as offering extended ...

Read more

Shetland's War Memorial - constructed by William Horne

Shetland’s War Memorial on Hillhead is now one hundred years old, and was rededicated with a ceremony on 6 January. The memorial ...

Read more

Christmas in Shetland - 1923

1923, like many of the years between the wars, was not a good one. The Shetland Times year end report spoke of a poor herring fishing, ...

Read more

Research project commissioned to encourage locals to grow more aets!

Shetland Amenity Trust has commissioned a research project with two local straw makers to understand more about the growing of ...

Read more

‘Logical Confusion’, a retrospective exhibition of Mike McDonnell opens at the Shetland Museum

An ambitious new exhibition dedicated to the artistry of well-known local artist Mike McDonnell opened this weekend at the Shetland ...

Read more

New poetry book - ‘Love in Human Herts’

‘Love in Human Herts’, a new publication celebrating Vagaland’s finest poetry has been launched today by the Shetland Amenity ...

Read more

Film celebrating the achievements of Johnnie Notions launched by Shetland Museum and Archives

A new film which brings to life the incredible story of 18th century inoculation pioneer and Shetland crofter Johnnie Notions has been ...

Read more

Keep a look out for Skeklers this Halloween

We had a great time at our recent Skeklers Hat workshop with local artist Eve Eunson in preparation for Halloween.

Read more

Pre-school Activity Mornings

Bring your little explorers to the Shetland Museum & Archives for our heritage-filled fun sessions, designed especially for under 5's ...

Read more

National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day we asked assistant archivist (and poet) Mark Smith to uncover a hidden gem from the archives. This ...

Read more

October Holiday Workshops

Join us this October Holidays for heritage inspired workshops and some spooky Halloween fun! From witchcraft to skeklers and faas ...

Read more

Treasure Trove Comes to Shetland

Members of the public are invited to come along with their ‘treasures’ and meet experts from Scotland’s Treasure Trove Unit ...

Read more