A rare collection of Japanese artwork belonging to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum was officially opened at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery on Friday evening.
In what was described as a ‘real coup’ by museum curator Jeremy Knight, the museum in the Causeway was chosen as one of just ten locations nationwide to host the exhibition, which features Japanese Cloisonné enamels.
Mr Knight added that those coming to view the artwork would be ‘wowed’ by the display.
He said: “It just doesn’t happen: the V and A doesn’t go to small museums.
“The real opportunity is to get very close to it, closer than you could get at the V and A.
“We couldn’t have it without increasing security because the government insure it, and they ensured that we had security here.”
The artwork on display includes vases and bowls from the 18th century onwards, decorated with traditional Japanese symbols such as dragons, fish and flowers.
Attending the opening of the exhibition was the chairman of Horsham District Council Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury), who described the collection as ‘very impressive’.
He said: “I am very pleased to be able to see these pieces because they are really outstanding.
“I think we owe a debt of gratitude to those that made and donated this collection.
“We are very privileged to have this art from the Victoria and Albert Museum and we are very grateful to them for choosing us so the people of Horsham are able to see these exhibits.”
Visitors will have an opportunit to see the works in Horsham until September 22.
Edwin Davies, who donated the artwork, is one of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s most famous benefactors, and has been a trustee at the museum since 2007. It was his own wish that this selection of items should tour the country’s museums.