The Grand Tour
The National Gallery and HP bring works of art to the streets of London
Issued June 2007
12 June 2007 - The National Gallery and HP unveil the Grand Tour today.
For twelve weeks, the streets of London are being turned into a Gallery - as around 30 full size recreations of National Gallery paintings are hung on the walls, in the most unexpected and unusual of places.
Masterpieces from Caravaggio to Constable will be vying for position among the bustling streets from Soho to Seven Dials. Celebrating the richness, diversity and stories of the National Gallery's permanent collection, the Grand Tour aims to encourage people to make the short journey to visit the genuine works, and many more, for free.
The Grand Tour has been made possible as a result of the collaboration between the National Gallery and HP - the concept was devised and has been implemented by award-winning brand and design consultancy, The Partners.
Through innovative and creative imaging and printing, HP has reproduced the paintings so they exactly mirror the format of the originals. Steve Gill, Vice President and managing director, HP UK & Ireland said,
This is a really exciting initiative for HP to be involved in and has provided us with an opportunity to demonstrate some of our leading edge technology. Our imaging, printing capabilities and portfolio has enabled us to support the National Gallery with this Grand Tour concept, by producing high quality reproductions of these wonderful masterpieces.
Each picture will be in a replica frame, and have an information plaque next to it - just as it has in the real Gallery. The plaques will also include a phone number, which people can call to access a specially recorded audio guide to that particular painting, and its artist.
A map of the entire Grand Tour (including a selection of 'mini-tours') along with further information about the paintings, the story of how the project came about, audio downloads and a picture gallery are all available on a specially created website - thegrandtour.org.uk
National Gallery Director Charles Saumarez Smith said,
I am very delighted that the National Gallery's long-standing association with Hewlett-Packard is continuing with a characteristically imaginative effort to bring art into the local community and to encourage new audiences to be aware of the great works of art to be seen in London.
The origins of the Grand Tour date back to the 17th Century, when the wealthy upper classes undertook a journey of cultural enlightenment across Europe, in a life-changing trip that could last for months or even years.
Now - thanks to the National Gallery and HP - we're seeing the idea of the Grand Tour turned on its head. Rather than the public seeking out its art - art is seeking out its public, interrupting their everyday lives and reminding them of the treasures just around the corner.
Notes for Editors
The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square was founded in 1824 and houses a collection of over 2,300 Western European paintings from 1250 to 1900. Open 7 days a week, the collection belongs to the British public and entry to the permanent collection is free.
HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers - from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP is among the world's largest IT companies, with revenue totalling $97.1 billion for the four fiscal quarters ended April 30, 2007.
More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ), including links to RSS feeds.
The Partners was founded in 1983 and works with many of the world's most successful organisations, including BBC, Jaguar, Diageo, Saks Fifth Avenue and Astra Zeneca.
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