£23m masterpiece in the care of Nottingham alumna

11 Jul 2013 13:17:23.823
PA 231/13

As an art history student Amy Concannon studied some of the most famous paintings in the world. Now The University of Nottingham graduate is putting her knowledge into practice — looking after a £23m masterpiece.

As an Assistant Curator at the Tate Britain, Amy was part of the historic bid to purchase Constable’s iconic painting, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, for the nation. Amy played a central role in petitioning for the Tate’s latest acquisition, which was bought for £23.1m from the family of Lord Ashton of Hyde. It was made possible with grants of £15.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £1m from the Art Fund (£1million) and a substantial donation from The Manton Foundation and Tate Members.  

Amy hopes the work will capture the imagination of the British public. She said: “This was the work that Constable saw as his best, the culmination of his career, and so its acquisition for the nation will give it a renewed focus.”

Click here for full story
A chance to save such a pivotal piece by one of the most significant British landscape painters of all time is rare. Laden with meaning and visual spectacle the painting is one of a monumental series of six-foot canvases. It will be displayed in London and throughout the country in museums in Wales, Scotland, Salisbury, and Ipswich. 

Describing the painting Amy said: “It is loaded with meaning, there’s a tension in the painting’s contrast between sunlight and showers, its portrayal of urban and rural, man and nature, alongside Constable’s concerns about the power struggles in religion and politics. Constable wanted his work to be seen by as many people as possible and I am sure he would be delighted that it will remain in Britain and on permanent public display.” 

Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate Britain, said: “This is a painting of such supreme importance that had it not been possible for a gallery in this country to acquire it, there would undoubtedly have been institutions abroad that would have wanted to bring it into their collections.”

Looking back to her time at Nottingham, Amy credits the History and Art History Departments with being fantastically supportive in nurturing ideas about what she wanted to do as a career and the Careers Service with pressing home the importance of work experience. The specific modules she took also helped to develop her fascination with 18th- and early 19th-Century British art, which on graduation led to an internship with the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. 
Not only will the exhibition run throughout the country but each display will be unique to each venue, and will be complemented by an education programme which encourages audiences to learn more about this painting. The project will establish a national network for Constable Studies to promote exchange and create new opportunities for training and skills development.

The coming years will deliver more exciting projects for Assistant Curator Amy. In the long term she hopes to complete a PhD, which she hopes will help her reach her personal and professional goals.

— Ends —

For up to the minute media alerts, follow us on Twitter or find out more on our Press Office blog

Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Lindsay Brooke, Media Relations Manager at The University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 5751
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

Additional resources

No additional resources for this article

Related articles

Echoes of slavery... the stately home connection

Published Date
Thursday 1st August 2013

Record numbers flock to Lowry exhibition

Published Date
Friday 13th January 2012

Experts to ask 'What is Robin Hood?' at public event

Published Date
Thursday 24th October 2013

A medieval perspective on Scottish independence

Published Date
Friday 21st February 2014

Media Relations - External Relations

The University of Nottingham
YANG Fujia Building
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5798
email: pressoffice@nottingham.ac.uk