The Beacon Museum will host ‘Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume’ from September 24 to January 8. The piece is on loan from the National Gallery in London.

Copeland’s Customer and Visitor Experience Manager, Heather Holmes, said: “We are thrilled to have this painting at The Beacon Museum. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an artwork by a true Dutch master. We hope it will prompt conversation and inspire a lifelong love of art.”’

The National Gallery is to loan the priceless piece to the harbourside museum as part of the Masterpiece Tour. The scheme offers only three venues outside of London the chance to host one major work from its collection each year. Last year the museums exhibited Jean-Simeon Chardin’s House of Cards.

The Rembrandt piece is almost 400 years old, and is one of many he painted or drew of his first wife Saskia.

The museum is using the exhibition to involve local school pupils. Allan Gillon, The Beacon Museum’s Learning Officer, said: “Schools have had the exciting opportunity to actually create their own work in response to the piece, and these will become a part of the exhibition.

“The project has an artist in residence, Alex Jakob Whitworth, who has helped pupils create pieces of work inspired by Rembrandt.

“There will also be opportunities for volunteers to talk about the artistic merits of the painting and the historical information around it.”

Andrew Beattie, Head teacher at St James’ Junior School and co-ordinator of the schools cluster taking part, said: “This gives children a chance to engage with a nationally important painting, and see that a career in the arts is a viable and worthwhile aspiration.  

“They will see their individual creative responses on display alongside a masterpiece, and the project has helped us build a lasting partnership with The Beacon Museum.”

There are also opportunities for volunteers to help look after the painting during its visit. Those interested can volunteer for  a number of three hour shifts. The role could involve welcoming visitors, providing information about the artwork, answering questions and gathering feedback from visitors. No experience is necessary and training will be provided. Anyone interested should contact the museum on 01946 592302, or email

‘Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume’ was painted in 1635. In it, Saskia is 23 years old, and she and Rembrandt have been married for a year. She is dressed as Flora, the Roman goddess of spring and fertility. In their seven years of marriage, Saskia had four children, but only a son, Titus, survived. A year after he was born, Saskia died.

National Gallery Director, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said: The National Gallery’s pictures are for all to enjoy. We are delighted to be working closely with our partners in Whitehaven to devise engaging displays and programmes around this great painting.”

The Beacon Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm, and on Mondays too during school holidays.

Entry tickets cost £7 for adults, £5.50 for concessions and £3.50 for children. A family ticket costs £17.50, and annual passes are also available. This includes entry to the rest of The Beacon Museum, and its four floors of interactive family fun.

Click here to see a picture of ‘Saskia van Uylenburgh in Arcadian Costume’ :