2021 Reports

November 24, 2021
Birmingham Museums Conservation Appeal for The Star of Bethlehem and Holy Grail Tapestries

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is home to the world’s largest collection of art and design by the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates. Birmingham Museums needs your support to protect two of the city’s best-loved treasures for future generations to enjoy: Edward Burne-Jones’ ‘The Star of Bethlehem’ and ‘The Holy Grail Tapestries’ designed by Burne-Jones with John Henry Dearle and William Morris.

‘The Star of Bethlehem’ is the world’s largest watercolour and has been on display at BMAG for 130 years. Essential work needs to take place to replace its fragile glazing as well as carefully assessing and conserving the painting.

The Star of Bethlehem, 1887-1891, 1891P75; Sir Edward Burne-Jones; Commissioned by the Corporation of Birmingham, 1887, and purchased through the Art Gallery Purchase Fund, 1891; Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust, licensed under CC0.
The Star of Bethlehem, 1887-1891 by Sir Edward Burne-Jones; 1891P75; Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust

The delicate Holy Grail tapestries are at serious risk of weakening and even tearing. They need conservation and a really good clean. Birmingham Museums have been unable to display them since 2015 and they are currently in storage.

These monumental artworks have an important place in the history of British art as well as being stars of Birmingham’s collection. This vital fundraising campaign will ensure that they can be enjoyed by you – and thousands of other visitors – for many years to come.

To make this essential conservation project possible Birmingham Museums need to raise £25,000 through public donations and are asking for your help.

Please support the conservation of these fabulous artworks and give what you can. Every gift – however large or small – will make a difference and will be hugely appreciated. Click here to visit the JustGiving page.

Quest for the Holy Grail Tapestries - Panel 2 - The Arming and Departure of the Knights, 1895-96, 1907M129; Designers: Sir Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and John Henry Dearle; Manufacturer: Morris & Co; Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust, licensed under CC0
Quest for the Holy Grail Tapestries – Panel 2 – The Arming and Departure of the Knights, 1895-96, 1907M129; Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust

January 14, 2021
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery will remain closed throughout 2021

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) will remain closed throughout 2021 while essential electrical upgrade work of Birmingham’s Council House complex takes place but plans for reopening in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games are underway. While the building is closed Birmingham Museums Trust will continue to share items and stories from Birmingham’s collections with audiences in a variety of exciting and engaging ways both online and in the community.

The reopening will be launched with a transformation of BMAG’s iconic Round Room. A radical new display of this stunning gallery will reflect the people of 21st Century Birmingham. In a sweeping change from the current paintings of landscapes, historic subjects and dignitaries from the past, the new We Are Birmingham display will present a vibrant celebration of the city that Birmingham has become. It will draw on new artworks as well as historic items from Birmingham’s Collections. 2022 will also herald a programme of new exhibitions as well as celebrating the city’s treasures such as the Staffordshire Hoard, world-famous Pre-Raphaelites and more recent items from Collecting Birmingham such as the Koh-i-Noor curry house booth.

Click here to read more.

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