SOME of the UK’s best-known contemporary artists will feature in an exhibition exploring Sunderland’s proud industrial heritage.

Last year it was announced Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens was one of only three galleries nationwide chosen to host artwork from the acclaimed Arts Council Collection, an important national loan collection of modern and contemporary British Art.

Now a new online exhibition, Heritage at Heart, will explore artworks from the Arts Council Collection alongside Sunderland Museum’s own local collection to look at the city’s mining, shipbuilding, glass, pottery, rope, automobile and manufacturing industries.

The Northern Echo:

Pairings include LS Lowry's painting July, The seaside and an Edwardian postcard of Roker and Grayson Perry's Spirit Jar and an 1830s lustre jar.

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo:

It will be online at from Tuesday, August 25 until March 31, 2021 and run alongside a schools learning programme.

Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for vibrant city, Councillor John Kelly, said: “Heritage at Heart examines the links between Sunderland’s industrial legacy and the Arts Council Collection. Arts Council Collection artworks have been paired with Sunderland Museum’s objects and artefacts exploring the connections between two very different collections.

Jonathan Weston, exhibitions officer for Sunderland Culture, who programme cultural venues on Wearside, said: “The exhibition delves into how industry continues to inform and influence artistic practice and features artworks by LS Lowry, Grayson Perry, Richard Deacon, Rana Begum, Prunella Clough, Tom McGuinness and Carol Rhodes.

“These artists have, in part, framed their approach to art making around industry, or using industrial processes and materials to produce their artwork.

“We looked at Sunderland’s important industrial heritage and the many industries at the heart of the city as a starting point, and then looked for links between our collection and the Arts Council Collection.”

One of the pairings is a painting by LS Lowry – July, the Seaside – from the Arts Council Collection and a Victorian postcard showing Holey Rock, Roker, from Sunderland Museum’s collection.

Lowry, whose drawings and paintings depicted the industrial landscape of northern England, was a regular visitor to Sunderland, staying at what was the Seaburn Hotel.

Another pairing features work by artist and potter Grayson Perry, who also has links to Sunderland. The Turner-prize winning artist created two huge tapestries that were inspired by visits to the city as part of his Channel 4 TV series All in the Best Possible Taste.

Perry’s Spirit Jar, from the Arts Council Collection, is paired with a Sunderland lustre jug from the 1830s. Pottery was an important industry on Wearside – by 1818 300,000 pieces were being exported from the city, and the industry employed thousands.

Photography is also a feature of Heritage at Heart, and is used to explore Sunderland’s shipbuilding past. A photograph of a welder at Govan Shipbuilders in Glasgow, taken by New York born photographer Larry Herman in 1974, is paired with a picture of the launch of the Ionian at J.L Thompson’s North Sands Yard in September 1946.

Meanwhile, an image taken at the mouth of the River Tees by internationally acclaimed photographer Ian Macdonald, from the Arts Council Collection, is paired with a map of the River Wear from 1717 from Sunderland Museum’s collection. The map shows the mouth of the Wear in its natural state, before any development and features hand-drawn and painted decoration of ships at sea.

Mr Weston added: “Alongside each of the artwork and object pairings there is an interpretation, connecting the two and providing further insight into Sunderland’s history.”

Jodie Edwards, national partners programme general manager at ACC, said: “We're very excited for the launch of Heritage at Heart; the first online exhibition of the National Partners Programme.

"By pairing works from the Arts Council Collection with those from Sunderland's own collection and archive, the exhibition creates new and interesting connections between the industrial heritage of the North East and the work of artists living and working in Britain today.”

The online exhibition will run until March 31 next year and a learning programme for schools is in development to run alongside Heritage at Heart.