Iconic Millais painting returns to town as part of summer Raleigh 400 exhibition

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 March 2018

The statue of Sir Walter Raleigh stand at the top of the village. Ref exb 9978-14-09SH Picture: Simon Horn

The statue of Sir Walter Raleigh stand at the top of the village. Ref exb 9978-14-09SH Picture: Simon Horn

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A celebrated Victorian artist’s masterpiece will be returning home to Budleigh Salterton for the third time this summer.

Fairlynch Museum in spring. Ref exb 22-16AW 8524. Picture: Alex WaltonFairlynch Museum in spring. Ref exb 22-16AW 8524. Picture: Alex Walton

That is when the town’s Fairlynch Museum – together with Budleigh Salterton Art Club – will celebrate the life of one of Devon’s best-known historical figures.

Sir John Everett Millais’s iconic painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ – one of the treasures of Tate Britain’s collection – became one of the most reproduced images in 19th century art following its appearance at the Royal Academy’s 1871 exhibition.

Set on Budleigh’s pebble beach, the work shows the young Walter Raleigh with his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert listening to a sailor’s tales of exotic lands.

“Nobody is sure of the exact date of Raleigh’s birth, so 2018 is a special year for us,” says Fairlynch Museum chairman Trevor Waddington.

Sir John Everett Millais’s iconic painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ will be on display at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum  as part of the Raleigh 400 exhibition from May 28 until August 31. Picture: © Tate, London 2018. All rights reserved.Sir John Everett Millais’s iconic painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ will be on display at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum as part of the Raleigh 400 exhibition from May 28 until August 31. Picture: © Tate, London 2018. All rights reserved.

“It will be 400 years in October that he was executed at the Palace of Westminster after his attempts to set up the first English-speaking colonies in the New World. This is all very much part of the run-up to the Mayflower 400 celebrations in which Devon will play such an important part.”

Alongside ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’, Fairlynch Museum will be exhibiting a second Millais painting of the artist’s son – the first time the two paintings will have been seen together.

Also on show will be armour, weapons and domestic items of the period on loan from Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum and from private collections. A star attraction will be a pair of embroidered 1590s kid leather gloves associated with Raleigh.

To be opened on Monday, May 28, by Devon’s lord lieutenant John Fursdon as part of Budleigh Salterton Gala Week, the Raleigh 400 exhibition will run for three months until Friday, August 31.

Before that, the Fairlynch Museum opens on Good Friday (March 30) with an exhibition of rare quilts from its collection. There is also a local history display showing the work of VAD hospitals in World War One. Admission is free, except for a small charge to see the Raleigh 400 exhibition when it opens on May 28.

Visit www.fairlynchmuseum.uk or www.budleighsaltertonartclub.org.uk

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