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UK Friends of the Hermitage

  • His Royal Highness Prince Charles and Professor Mikhail Piotrovsky. Haughton Hall. 2013. Foto by Susanne Fossey
  • Light Show 3d-mapping on the Hermitage Day. Palace Square. 7 December 2016
  • Gala Dinner. London. 2013
  • Gala Dinner. London. 2015
  • Opening of the exhibition “Newspeak: British Art Today”. The Winter Palace. 2009
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The UK Friends of the Hermitage, later renamed the Hermitage Foundation (UK), was established in 2003. The UK Friends actively support one of the most innovative projects of the State Hermitage Museum: the Hermitage 20/21 programme. This is a major campaign to bring contemporary art to the museum for the new display of art of the 20th and 21st centuries that is housed in the restored General Staff Building, and the UK Friends have been appointed official programme coordinators outside Russia.

With their support, the Hermitage has already organized the following exhibitions: USA Today from the collection of Charles Saatchi (2007); Chuck Close: Seven Portraits (2008); Newspeak: British Art Now (2009); Celestial Mirror. Anish Kapoor and Sculpture CLASP by Antony Gormley (2010); Blitz and Blockade: Henry Moore at the Hermitage, Antony Gormley’s Still Standing: A Contemporary Intervention in the Classical Collection and the exhibition of Dmitry Prigov’s works (2011); the display of Tony Cragg’s sculpture Luke and the Chapman brothers’ exhibition The End of Fun (2012); the exhibition of works by Zaha Hadid (2015); and Erté: an Art Deco Genius. Return to St Petersburg (2016).

Owing to the selfless efforts of the UK Friends, large-scale exhibitions with the participation of the Hermitage have been held in the UK: Houghton Revisited: The Walpole Masterpieces from Catherine the Great's Hermitage (2013), Francis Bacon and the Masters (2014) and The Empress and the Gardener at Hampton Court Palace (2016).

To provide funding for these exhibitions and others to come, the Foundation participates in the annual Gala Reception in the Winter Palace (since 2006), as well as organizes annual charity banquets in London (since 2007). In 2015 the Hermitage Foundation (UK) agreed to be responsible for the management of a foreign Endowment Fund held in trust for The State Hermitage Museum.

With the help of the Foundation, the restoration of the following objects from the Hermitage collection has been carried out: Letter of Patent of Tsars Ivan and Peter and Princess Sophia (2012); Portrait of The Duke of Wellington by François Gérard (2015); a unique mural of a Fighting Warrior from Penjikent (2017); and a Luigi Premazzi watercolour of The Palace at Sergiyevka has been acquired (2016).

In 2016 the Hermitage Foundation (UK) funded a number of important  non-standard projects: a 3D Mapping light show on Palace Square for Hermitage Day, 7 December; a visit to the Hermitage by the eminent Hamburg-based dendrochronologist Peter Klein to refine the dating of The Garden of Earthly Delights by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch and 14 other paintings on wooden panels in the Hermitage collection; and a visit to St Petersburg by Ian Christie, a specialist on the films of Sergei Eisenstein, to provide consultation on the forthcoming exhibition.

Since 2008, the UK Friends have provided scholarships for the Hermitage curators and specialists. The Hermitage staff members have the opportunity to visit London for research at British museums and libraries under the Visiting Curators programme. Since 2003, the Foundation supports publications of English-language versions of scholarly editions of the State Hermitage Museum.

Hermitage Foundation (UK)
Pushkin House
5a Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2TA
Tel.: + 44 (0)20 7404 7780
Fax: + 44 (0)20 3116 0151