Museum sees money in metro retro

WEDNESDAY'S opening of the first retrospective devoted to the photographer Terence Donovan could be seen as something of a catch for one of the cultural world's better-kept secrets - the Museum of London. The East Ender made his name recording the Swinging Sixties for posterity, with portraits of the likes of Terence Stamp and Julie Christie, before going on to photograph Diana, Princess of Wales and other royals. He died in 1996.

The exhibition is being sponsored by the City law firm Denton Hall. The museum sees the backing as a step towards establishing itself as "a sponsorable organisation". For Denton Hall it provides an opportunity to step into the sort of territory that large accountancy firms such as Ernst & Young have been occupying with support for exhibitions such as the Royal Academy's current "Monet" display. According to Elizabeth Rantzen, director of business development at the law firm, the attraction is that it reinforces Denton Hall's position as a London firm at a time when it has emerged from aborted merger talks, while also fitting in with its image as a specialist in media and entertainment law.

The Donovan exhibition would not have been possible without the involvement of Denton Hall and matching funds from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport that the sponsorship brought.

There has been a shift in approach at the museum. Simon Thurley, who took over as director of the museum 18 months ago after a spell at the Historic Royal Palaces, has been the catalyst. He points out that while the museum had been "doing amazing things" in terms of exhibitions, it had taken its eye off "the visitor ball", so that annual gates had tumbled from 750,000 to 330,000. On his arrival, he told the governors of the institution (funded jointly by the Corporation of London and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) that visitor figures should at least pass the 500,000 mark.

"This led to a sudden change of emphasis," he says, adding that the strategy was to target the Londoners who had stopped visiting. Adult Londoners now account for only 17 per cent of visitors, while foreign visitors make up 70 per cent. However, in the 23 years that the Museum of London has been open, the number of museums in the capital has trebled, to 350. Accordingly, competition for visitors and funds is intense.

Dr Thurley believes that a key success factor must be "absolute clarity of purpose": realising that: "This museum is a museum about London for Londoners."

He and his colleagues point to how the exhibition "London Bodies" - on the changing shape of the capital's citizens - had proved highly successful. It is hoped that the Donovan show, which features many scenes from the area in which the photographer grew up, as well as fashion shots that helped define an era, will continue the success. There are also high hopes for an exhibition "London Eats Out", which is being designed by Terence Conran.

`The eye that never sleeps: Donovan London Photographs', until 1 August at the Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2 (0171-600 3699).

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Accounts Payable

£12 - £15 per hour: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: Excellent opportunity to join...

Technical BA - Banking - Bristol - £400pd

£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...

Account Management Strategy Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: Required skills:Previo...

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice