Leonardo Draws the Crowds

Release date: 
Sunday, 7 July 2002

The Royal Collection's touring exhibition of ten drawings by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci has attracted record audiences.  Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection: A Golden Jubilee Celebration opened in February at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, which experienced a 465% increase in visitor numbers over the exhibition's two-month run. At the next location, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, attendances of 30,000 almost matched the Gallery's average annual total.

Jenni Spencer-Davis, Curator at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, said, 'Attendances far exceeded any previous exhibition in the Gallery's recent history.  Not only has the exhibition offered an opportunity for visitors throughout Wales and South West England to see these rare drawings, but it has enabled the Gallery to launch a special Access programme (the Leonardo project) for our local communities to share in this unique heritage.  The results will be of ongoing benefit for a regional gallery such as ours.'

Touring exhibitions are an important part of the Royal Collection's work to broaden public access.  The millennial exhibition, Ten Religious Masterpieces, became the year 2000's most popular art exhibition in Britain outside London, attracting over 200,000 visitors over the period of its tour.
The Royal Collection holds the world's most important group of Leonardo drawings, unrivalled in terms of its size and breadth of subject matter.  The travelling exhibition has been specially selected to reflect all stages of Leonardo's career and the wide range of his interests, such as architecture, engineering, anatomy, optics, geology and botany.

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection: A Golden Jubilee Celebration was shown at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight (15 February - 21 April 2002) and Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea (27 April - 7 July 2002).  It then travels to Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield (13 July -21 September 2002), and Ulster Museum, Belfast (27 September - 8 December 2002).
Further information and photographs are available from the Royal Collection, telephone: 020-7839 1377, e-mail: press@royalcollection.org.uk. Images are available from the Royal Collection's folder in the Arts section on PA's Picselect at www.papicselect.com or through the PA bulletin board.

Notes to Editors

1. The drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) have been in the Royal Collection since before 1690 and were probably acquired during the reign of Charles II (1660-85).  Although the drawings can never be on permanent display, because of the potential for damage from exposure to light, they are regularly lent to exhibitions in the UK and around the world and are shown in changing displays of treasures from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.
2. The Royal Collection is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and for the Nation, and is administered by the Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity.  It is entirely self-funding, through monies from public admission to the official residences of The Queen and a range of retail activities.