Preview: Thursday 23 January 2013 / 7pm-10pm / All welcome 

Treasures in MK is MK Gallery’s surprising and extraordinary exhibition for the start of 2014. It features an exceptional range of art works - spanning almost an entire millennium - selected from over 50 collections within Buckinghamshire, mostly in private hands. This unique exhibition is effectively mobilising a community of art lovers at the heart of the newly emerging city of Milton Keynes.

MK Gallery is renowned for exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, but this exhibition combines historical items with the contemporary, in anticipation of the broader programme that will be presented on completion of the Gallery’s ambitious expansion plans.

Like a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, the exhibition brings together an eclectic array of objects and focuses on the fascinating stories behind the works. Old Masters such as Thomas Gainsborough, George Romney, William Hogarth and John Everett Millais rub shoulders with Modern Masters from Picasso and Matisse to Andy Warhol. Other extraordinary items include the Boarstall Cartulary from the 11th century which featured in the BBC’s History of the World; memorabilia from ‘godfather of British aviation’ Frank McLean’s hair-raising flights under the bridges on the River Thames; taxidermied pelicans from a private zoo; an Aston Martin DB4 on loan from Aston Martin Works Service and a unique self-portrait by David Bowie from a private collection. These extraordinary artworks and objects are supplemented with additional work from local collections such as the Open University, Waddesdon Manor and Buckinghamshire County Museum.

Speaking about the exhibition, Anthony Spira, Director of MK Gallery said:
Treasures in MK is the second of a two-part programme about art in and around Milton Keynes. Earlier this summer, part one, MK Calling, featured over 100 artists from Milton Keynes in a festival of art, music, dance, poetry and much, much more. We hope that by working intensively with both artists and collectors around Milton Keynes, we can build and nurture a strong, dynamic and thriving artistic community in the build up to the much needed expansion of the Gallery’s facilities. This ambitious £10m project is scheduled to open in 2017 to celebrate the city’s 50th anniversary.