Although closed due to the current crisis, Cannon Hall Museum and the De Morgan Foundation have curated a spectacular new virtual 360º digital tour , which will be launched with a live curatorial Q&A session in their stunning ‘A Family of Artists’ galleries on Sunday, 3 May at 7.30pm.
Through cutting edge technology, online visitors are invited to join De Morgan expert Sarah Hardy to explore the galleries of the much-loved South Yorkshire museum, whose Georgian bedrooms are now home to a world-class collection of artworks from the De Morgan Foundation.
The amazing 360º technology will also be available for visitors to navigate this interactive, digital version of the exhibition online in their own time. They will discover breath taking artwork, be inspired by the stories of artists and even see the parkland landscape in which the museum is found through the windows.
Shortly before Cannon Hall temporarily closed, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the galleries were transformed with mythological paintings and ceramics, a never before seen portrait, and Evelyn De Morgan’s masterpiece, Flora. Evelyn De Morgan was a talented portraitist, but only close family and friends sat for her.
Evelyn painted her beloved ‘Uncle Roddy’, artist John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, who grew up at Cannon Hall and was closely associated with Edward Burne-Jones and G. F. Watts. This wonderful portrait shows the close relationship between uncle and niece artists and has been with the family since it was painted, never having been on public display before. It now, fittingly, hangs in Hall in which the family once lived.
Following their inclusion in the British Museum’s blockbuster exhibition ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’, Evelyn De Morgan’s paintings Helen of Troy and Cassandra join the display, showcasing the artist’s interest in presenting the female narrative in classic mythologic stories. William De Morgan’s brilliant ceramic sculpture of the god Pan is displayed close by.
In 1894, Evelyn painted Flora, a true masterpiece painted on gold leaf so that it literally shines in the gallery. Flora was the goddess of blossoming flowers and spring-time to the ancient Romans, who celebrated her in the Floralia festival, from 27 April to 3 May which climaxed with gladiatorial games.
To celebrate this new display, Cannon Hall and the De Morgan Foundation are holding an online Floralia, climaxing with a virtual live tour of the exhibition on Sunday 3 May at 7.30pm.
Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place (Regeneration and Culture) said: “Barnsley Museums are pushing the boundaries in terms of creativity and technology to ensure they continue to reach and engage with people during these unprecedented times. Although people can’t currently visit the galleries physically they will instead bring their stunning displays to them. These mind blowing 360 tours will allow people to explore, study and discover more about the De Morgan artwork as well as take part in a live curatorial tour – something we think maybe a world first!”
Sarah Hardy Curator and Manager, De Morgan Foundation said: “Evelyn De Morgan’s painting ‘Flora’, on display at Cannon Hall, lights up the gallery. She is the Roman Goddess of Springtime, and was celebrated by the ancients in the ‘Floralia Festival’ which falls this week. The highlight of their celebrations were gladiator games, ours will be even more of a spectacle!
I have seen many different and creative ways museums have continued to bring stories and artworks to the public in response to this crisis, but I have never seen anything like this. With our technology, you can literally visit the exhibition. I have been really missing giving guided tours of our exhibition during the lockdown, but with this ground-breaking technology, I will be able to take round the exhibition and reveal surprising facts about the Victorian artwork.”