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Supporting the Museum

The Mayor and Committee with new cases funded by the Friends

The Mayor and Committee with new cases funded by the Friends

The Friends of Reading Museums raise funds to support projects which would not otherwise be possible.

Supporting projects

The Friends fund museum activities that support its work with the public, such as the publication of a new guide to the museum collections, The World in Reading, which came out in 2008 and is available from the Museum shop.

In 2011 the Friends funded the installation of six beautiful bespoke cases, either side of the main Museum entrance, to display a range of treasures on the World in Reading theme.

In 2013 we supported both the Museum's education work for the newly displayed 1575 portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and the mounting of beautiful prints in the Museum's Allen Seaby retrospective exhibition.

In 2015 we purchased an extra donation box for the Museum and funded a new children's trail booklet.

The World in Reading - a guide to the museum collections (cover)

Supporting collections

One of our main objectives is fundraising to enable the Museum to buy works of art and artefacts so that the collection can grow. Here are some examples of works and objects purchased with the help of the Friends:

  • St Laurence's Church by Charles Tomkins (object number 2002.76.1), a watercolour dated around 1800, acquired when a member of the Friends spotted it in a Reading Evening Post article about a sale at Sotheby's - the Friends also paid for it to be conserved and framed before presenting it to the Museum.
  • Ballad of Reading Gaol I-IV by Garrick Palmer (object numbers 2009.616.1-4), four out of a set of 20 originally made as illustrations for a book published by Old Stile Press in 1994 and later released as limited-edition prints - they were presented to the Museum at the Friends' Christmas party in 2009.  
  • A 54cm dish and a smaller bowl made by Alan Caiger-Smith at the Aldermaston Pottery in 1993-4 (object numbers 1998.239.1-2), which are both on display in the Atrium at the Museum.
  • A table clock made by John Butler of Reading in about 1835 (object number 1997.72.21) - purchased with the support of the Friends and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund. 
  • A pen-work box decorated with local scenes (object number 1998.1.34) made in 1798 by a French priest fleeing the Revolution - the Friends contributed to the purchase, along with Reading Foundation for Art and a grant from the MGC/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

St Laurence's Church, watercolour by Charles Tomkins, about 1800Ballad of Reading Gaol III by Garrick Palmer


Date updated: 17 Aug 2016

Related Content:

Speaker Dr Elizabeth Goldring with the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I

On Saturday 25 January museum supporters enjoyed a fascinating lecture on our portrait of Queen Elizabeth I in the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery, raising funds for Tudor education sessions for schools.

Date published: 30 Jan 2014

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