New to Us Exhibition

March 30th 2016

A new display, entitled “New to us”, has gone on show throughout the galleries at Shetland Museum and Archives. The pieces included consist of recent art acquisitions to the museum over the last three years and will be regularly updated over 2016/17.

Shetland Museum regularly acquires historic pieces of art for its collection. Some are by Shetlanders, others by visitors, and most of these works haven’t been on public display before. They range in date from the 1840s to 1920s.

Curator, Dr Ian Tait, said “We would encourage visitors to take a look round the upper and lower galleries during the year to find the highlight pictures that came into our collection in recent years. This show will change during the year, so keep coming back to see new paintings!”

Most items come to the museum as donations, through the kindness of the public. More rarely, the museum acquires historic art from auctions outwith Shetland. Many purchases have been possible because of generous grant aid from the National Fund for Acquisitions. Funds are limited however, and candidate museums must make a good case for acquiring items. NFA grants have allowed Shetland Museum and Archives to acquire seven paintings which are included in the show, by three different artists.

The subject material in the drawings and painting in the rolling exhibition cover landscapes, boats, and portraits. Several of the pieces are by visiting artists who holidayed in Shetland in the 1870s-1910s, and they captured the busy herring economy that was eclipsing the traditional way of life. The local artists in the show include two very different painters who emigrated to New Zealand, one as a professional portraitist, the other a fisherman.

The National Fund for Acquisitions, administered with Scottish Government funding by National Museums Scotland, contributes £150,000 each year towards the acquisition of objects for the collections of museums, galleries, libraries and archives throughout Scotland. Find out more about the work of the NFA here: