Manod: The Nation’s Treasure Caves

This event was held from 5 March 2018 to 8 April 2018

5 March - 8 April 2018

Annenberg Court

Admission free, donations welcome

“Hide them in caves and cellars, but not one picture shall leave this island.” (Winston Churchill, 1940)

Part of the Civilisations Festival, this fascinating exhibition recalls a remarkable chapter in the National Gallery's history when, during the Second World War, our paintings were stored for safekeeping in a disused slate mine in Wales.

Twenty-four archival photographs documenting the removal of our paintings to Manod in Snowdonia, together with five photographs of the quarry as it appears today by Robin Friend, will be on display.

Central to the exhibition is a 30-minute film, ‘Winged Bull in the Elephant Case’, directed by photographer Robin Friend with choreography by Wayne McGregor. Filmed in a slate mine in Snowdonia and at the National Gallery, this immersive performance for the screen considers the lengths we will go to in order to preserve our cultural heritage.

The 'Elephant case' arriving at Manod quarry in Wales, during the Second World War. Original photo GWR