Wright's paintings will be taken around world under trust plans
THE paintings of renowned Derby artist Joseph Wright could be taken on a grand world tour if plans from the city's Museums Trust come to fruition.
Marketing manager Tony Adams revealed it was an "aspiration" to take the works of Wright around the globe in 2017.
He commented on the plans as he also explained the trust's hope of buying two of the artist's 18th century portraits.
Mr Adams said the tour could be paid for by "partner institutions" both at home and abroad.
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In the UK, this could include the Tate and, in America, Yale University.
Mr Adams added the trust was hoping to "tour the European leg of the exhibition in a location with strong links to the city".
He said it may also be possible to apply for grants to pay for the tour from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery but could not yet say how many paintings could be brought on the trip.
Meanwhile, the trust has launched an appeal to raise £11,000 to help buy two Wright portraits currently on loan to Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where they are on display.
The trust will be able to buy the paintings for £122,000 and already has cash raised by the Friends of Derby Museum and a grant from the Beecroft Bequest, a fund managed by the Museums Association for pre-1800 artworks.
It is now asking for help from the public to raise the remaining money it needs by the end of March.
The two portraits depict prominent Derbyshire industrialist and landowner Francis Hurt and his wife, Mary.
Mr Adams said both were "hugely significant" to the people of Derby and the local area, not only because of who they are by but due to who they depict.
He said: "Francis Hurt was one of the key figures in the economic development of the county – not only a wealthy landowner but an industrialist who exploited his iron and lead riches in a very hands-on way, which was quite unusual then."
Francis' son, Charles, married the daughter of textile entrepreneur Sir Richard Arkwright, who pioneered the world's first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford.
Mr Adams said: "The purchase of the two paintings is of great importance to Derby Museums and its people. It is part of a much bigger picture, helping to build the city's international cultural reputation and attraction as a tourist destination."
Fund-raising events arranged to support the campaign include a sponsored walk from Derby to Alderwasley, the Hurt family's home, on March 24.
Call Derby 642239 to take part. People are also encouraged to donate as much as they can in person at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery on the Strand or Pickford's House on Friar Gate.