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Dean Castle Collections on Loan to Italy

East Ayrshire Council’s Arts and Museums service are pleased to announce the loan of five early musical instruments from the van Raalte Collection which are currently held at Dean Castle in Kilmarnock to the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy during the summer of 2007.

On Wednesday 6th June the instruments will be personally delivered to Florence by Linda Fairlie and Bruce Morgan, Museum Officers from East Ayrshire Council.

They are to be shown as part of an exhibition which will be held in the Galleria dell'Accademia, where Michael Angelo's statue of David is displayed. The exhibition is called 'Meraviglie Sonore' Strumenti Musicali del Barocco Italiano (Musical Instruments from the Italian Baroque).

The exhibition proposes to gather together for the first time the most significant examples of musical instruments that were produced during the Baroque period. The instruments to be shown have been chosen for the splendor and high quality of their decoration. The instrument makers have produced pieces that are visual works of art as well as sources of music. The other lenders come from America and Europe - the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the cite de la Musique in Paris, the Musical instrument museums of Liepzig and Berlin and the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague. The only other lender from Britain is the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The pieces being loaned from Kilmarnock are an early 17th century guitar, a mid 18th century mandora, a 16th century arch lute (a bass lute), a 17th century colascione (a delicate long necked lute) and an early 18th century octave spinet. The arrangements for this loan are extensive, including transportation in a special vehicle with air-ride suspension, packed in individually made environmentally controlled, shock-proof containers and escorted all the way from Kilmarnock to Florence. Whilst on display they will be shown in environmentally controlled, high security display cases in air conditioned galleries. The loaned pieces will be shown as part of a future exhibition in Kilmarnock later in 2008.

When on show in Florence they will be seen by well over one million people, highlighting Dean Castle and East Ayrshire Council's wonderful collection of musical instruments. The 'Accademia' has eight thousand visitors per day.

Jason Sutcliffe, Museums Development Officer for East Ayrshire Council said, ‘I am delighted that these internationally important collections held within Kilmarnock will be on display in Florence. It is encouraging to think that almost one million people will view these instruments during the summer months.’