World tour plan for Derby's Joseph Wright collection

A collection of paintings by the famous Derby artist Joseph Wright could be taken on tour for the first time in more than 20 years.

The 18th Century paintings, kept by Derby Museums Trust at the city's art gallery, have been valued at more than £64m.

The trust hopes the tour could help pay for a new gallery for the paintings.

The collection last toured in 1990, when it visited London, New York and Paris.

Aside from its aesthetic merits, Wright's work is considered an important document of Britain's Industrial Revolution.

Stuart Gillis, head of museums at Derby City Council, said his long term vision was for the tour to raise enough revenue to pay for a new gallery in the city.

He said: "This city's been building this world-class collection for over 130 years.

"We want to put together a major exhibition, something that goes to London, Europe and North America.

"And when it comes back to this country, we want to make sure it comes back to a venue worthy of the artist."

The trust also hopes to add to the collection by fundraising to buy another two Wright paintings, portraits of Derbyshire industrialists Francis and Mary Hurt, which are currently privately owned.

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