Picture lending is alive in Leeds
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On a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, my partner and I took a trip into Leeds. Whilst navigating the crowds, we found ourselves walking in the direction of Leeds Art Gallery and decided to see what was showing. On entering the gallery we saw a sign ‘Picture Lending Scheme’. Intrigued we found ourselves going through into a large room filled with framed prints, drawings, paintings and photographs by artists ranging from the little known to the world famous.
A very helpful attendant asked if we had been before and then proceeded to tell us all about the scheme. Established in 1961, the Picture Lending Scheme was set up to enable the public to enjoy works of art in their own homes. £4 a month will get you one artwork, with £2 a month for additional artworks, there is no set up fee, you only pay for what you borrow, the only restriction being that each loan must last at least three months. There are now over 600 works available for loan through the gallery’s Picture Lending Scheme.
This scheme not only benefits the gallery, making a small profit from the work in the gallery’s collection that isn’t on display, but it allows art enthusiasts to ‘own’ a piece of work by the artists they admire, or even ones they have never heard of before, if only for a short period.This strikes me as a great opportunity. The ability to take an artwork home with you, study it, enjoy it (without having to break the bank) is a valuable resource for students, art professionals and art lovers alike.You could, if you so desired, curate your own mini exhibitions in your own home in order to investigate not only how specific artworks work together, but how our understanding of them is effected by their display in a domestic setting.
Like kids in a sweetshop we perused the artworks available to loan. My partner chose a large colourful lithograph entitled ‘Bebop’ by the artist Colin Smith, whilst I dove on a copy of Francisco de Goya’s ‘Grande hazaña! Con muertos!’. Still slightly disbelieving that we could actually take them home with us, we were ushered through the very quick registration process, our framed prints were packed into a Leeds Art Gallery bag, and we left the gallery, artworks in hand, with huge smiles on our faces.
For details of the next Picture Lending Scheme selection day, check the Leeds Art Gallery website