In 2007, three years after the Asian Tsunami which claimed the lives of their daughter and granddaughter, Lord and Lady Attenborough announced that their vaunted haul of Pablo Picasso ceramics would be given to the city of Leicester in their memory.
The collection features 150 works made by Picasso in his Madoura pottery in the southern French commune of Vallauris. Richard and Sheila Attenborough originally visited the area in 1954, making a series of “modest purchases” at first.
Picasso worked on plates, jugs and tiles at Madoura, combining aspects of painting and sculpture. A selection of the pieces were shown to critical acclaim shortly after the Attenboroughs bequeathed them, and around 40 will now go on permanent display at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.
“Ceramics was the medium in which Picasso showed his powers of artistic transformation in the most inventive way,” says Dr Marilyn McCully, a Picasso expert who has curated the exhibition.
“Working on the Mediterranean coast in the last 20 years of his life, he drew his inspiration from mythology, popular traditions and his own creativity which had revolutionized modern art."
Robert Wann, of Leicester City Council, says the authority is “very lucky” to have received the collection.
“I am really looking forward to the works going on permanent display in the city," he adds.
"I'm sure that people will come from all over the world to view them. Some of them have never been displayed before."
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