The first installations into The Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art at Palace House, a new national art gallery for British Sporting Art has commenced

4th April 2016

A national collection

Over the last few weeks the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries at Palace House Newmarket, the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art has received the first works of art for installation. Art will continue to come from around the country to create the first ever national gallery of Sporting Art in a sporting palace and a new home for the British Sporting Art Trust. A significant loan of 17 works has arrived from the Tate which will include some magnificent paintings by world famous artists. This initial hang will include a painting by an artist visitors may not expect to see in the gallery, by Walter Sickert loaned from the Gallery Oldham.

Images of traditional rural pursuits will be joined and complemented by loans from the British Council amongst others which will lend opportunities to discover some more surprising aspects of the subject with more contemporary artwork from Peter Blake and Mark Wallinger along with some beautiful images of women in sport. The new gallery will explore the development of these popular sporting images through paintings, sculpture, print-making and the applied arts. Loans will also be coming from; Victoria and Albert Museum, Bradford Museums and Galleries, Colchester and Ipswich Museums, Government Art Collection, Leicestershire County Council, Manchester City Art Galleries, Norfolk Museums Service, Tullie House and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery which will create a celebratory hang of the finest British Sporting Art from around the UK. This marks the beginning of the transformative project that is taking shape in the centre of Newmarket after years of meticulous planning, fundraising and construction.

Dr Cicely Robinson, Assistant Curator (British Sporting Art) who has curated the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art quotes:

"As the first phase of the installation draws to a close, it is fantastic to see the art gallery starting to take shape. With artworks travelling from public and private collections across the country, Palace House will be a truly national centre for the exhibition of sporting art."

History of Palace House

Palace House itself, a handsome example of late 17th century architecture, built in the 1670's, is the last surviving element of Charles II’s racing palace. The palace was built for Charles II, who chose Newmarket’s chalk heathlands as a base to develop his horses to a quicker 'running horse' after losing so many in the Civil War. He spent a considerable amount of time in the town and The Palace continued to be used by the Royal Family for the next 150 years.

Forest Heath District Council bought the site in the early 1990's after it had fallen into a perilous state having been unsympathetically rendered in cement. By 1998 the Council had restored it to its former glory. Work began in 2014 to transform it into the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art which has been generously supported by the The Packard Foundation in memory of Fred Packard a great racing fan and sporting art enthusiast. The project has also been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Forest Heath District Council, Suffolk County Council, as well as many private trusts, foundations and individuals from the world of horseracing and beyond.

For more details please contact Ami Cosgrave Tel: 01638 667333 Email: ami.cosgrave@nhrm.co.uk

Notes for editors:

The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art

The National Horseracing Museum is currently involved in a major capital project which will see it move to the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art on the Palace House site in Newmarket. The centre is expected to open in the Autumn of 2016 and will comprise a new National Horseracing Museum which will be housed in the old trainers house (once occupied by the youngest Grand National winning jockey Bruce Hobbs) and in the old Kings Yard, a national gallery of British Sporting Art and a live horse experience in the Rothschild Yard which will be occupied by retrained and retired racehorses to act as a flagship home for the Retraining of Racehorses Charity

The National Horseracing Museum was opened to the public by its patron Her Majesty the Queen in 1983 and holds a nationally and internationally significant collection of fine and decorative art, social history objects, archive material and photographs relating to the history and science of racehorses and to the people and places connected with the sport and industry of horseracing. The NHRM is a registered charity and operates independently of the government, local authority and racing industry. It relies wholly on income from ticket admissions, sponsorship, donations and trading through its café and shop.

The Packard Foundation

Established by the Packard family shortly after the death of Fred Packard in 2009.

Fred Arthur Rank Packard

A passion for flat racing began when his friend Monica Sherriffe encouraged him to buy a half share with her in ( his first horse) Sharpo which promptly won the July Cup in 1982, trained by J Tree, ridden by Pat Eddery.  From this moment until his premature death aged 60 in 2009, he continued to have horses in training often with Sir M Prescott & William Haggas. In keeping with his low profile style, they invariably ran in the colours of his partners.

Ten years later he bought his first sporting painting, and this ignited a similar passion.

These interests are the reason that the Trustees of the  Packard Foundation, encouraged by his family, decided that supporting the new Heritage Centre in Newmarket would be a fitting memorial to him.