Newcastle painting heading to London 

AUSTRALIA’S most experienced art gallery director Ron Radford has earmarked a Newcastle painting for a major exhibition in London.

Mr Radford, who is the director of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, was in Newcastle on Friday to view Joseph Lycett’s 1818 painting before he takes it to London.

Mr Radford has known the painting for 30 years and has organised for its cleaning and restoration at NGA in the past.

The landscape, titled Inner View of Newcastle, will be part of an Australian art exhibition featuring 200 paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in September.

‘‘It shows a fabulous view of Newcastle and is one of the earliest landscapes of Australia,’’ Mr Radford said.

‘‘The town of Newcastle was just 20 years old at the time it was painted.’’

Sidney Nolan’s  famous Ned Kelly 1946 painting depicting the bushranger on horseback will also be among the works exhibited.

Mr Radford began working for galleries when he was 21 and was at the opening of the Newcastle Art Gallery by Queen Elizabeth in 1977.

‘‘I’ve seen development of the regional and state galleries for over 40 years,’’ he said. 

‘‘It’s definitely Newcastle’s turn next.’’

The gallery director oversaw a $107 million extension of the NGA in Canberra and has announced further plans for a building to house contemporary Australian art.

He views Newcastle City Council’s decision to shelve the $21 million expansion of the Newcastle gallery, leaving the future of the project in the hands of the state and federal governments, as only a temporary set back.

‘‘Newcastle is a cultural city as well as a city for industry and employment,’’ Mr Radford said.

‘‘This exhibition shows Newcastle has  produced some of the most interesting art in Australia. It holds one of the most important collections in regional Australia."

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