In December 2011 Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum reopened after a multi-million pound refurbishment, and this summer it was named the UK's museum of the year by the Art Fund charity. Bridgeman are proud to boast that this collection was one of our earliest partnerships, signing up to license reproductions of their artworks in 1984.
The museum originally opened in 1868, dedicated to the memory of Prince Albert, who had died five years earlier, reflecting his deep interest in arts and science, with displays divided into antiquities, ethnography, natural history, decorative and fine arts. As well as stuffed animals, in the Victorian tradition, there is an Egyptian tomb and the Archaelogy Gallery features local prehistoric finds and tells the story of the Roman conquest of the area.
A magnificant fine art collection
Some of the museum’s most famous paintings include William Powell Frith’s portrait of three lady archers, The Fair Toxophilites, one of the most memorable images of the Victorian age, whilst the iconic Portrait of an African is probably the best-known painting in the museum.
In 1961, a curator at the British Museum named the sitter as the Nigerian abolitionist and writer Equiano, who visited Devon while campaigning for an end to the slave trade. However, that theory was discredited and it is now believed that the sitter was almost certainly Ignatius Sancho (1729-80), who was born on a slave ship and brought to England. Portrait of an African is unusual in that it's of an individual - indicating the sitter was granted a status denied to virtually all other Africans in mid-18th century Britain.
Landscapes and landmarks of Devon
Looking to buy framed prints?
Have you looked at one of the works of art in the Royal Albert Memorial museum and wished you could take it home? Well, you can via Bridgeman Art on Demand. Choose between cards, postcards, prints, mugs, canvas prints, framed or unframed.