National Trust Buckland Abbey


A team of art historians and international experts carried out eight months of painstaking investigative work to confirm the provenance. The work to establish the painting’s authenticity was taking place at the same time as we were designing the exhibition. We would get reports back that the painting was now 80 per cent a real Rembrandt, 90 per cent a real Rembrandt – it was pretty amazing to be part of that. “Usually when we are designing spaces for museums and galleries we delve into the object’s world, we learn as much as we can and think about what the big story is. This time we were part of that big story.”

With the research going on around them, the 20/20 graphics team decided to create an exhibition that would take visitors on the same exciting journey. And so the display explains and explores the steps involved in trying to work out the paintings origins. As a design team we thought about the visitors and the fact they might not know the background story and all the scientific work that has gone into proving it is real.

Our idea was that people walk into the room and look down through these glass investigation screens like a sort of crime drama where all this information gradually brings you down to the truth which is the real Rembrandt hanging at the end of the room. The painting is displayed hanging in a glass case so that visitors can see every part of the painting including the signature on the back.

With the painting confirmed as an original 20/20 decided to get everybody directly involved in creating a new masterpiece. The digital selfie invites people to become part of the exhibition by including their selfie in a mosaic to create a 21st century version of Rembrandt’s work. The digital selfie is a fun way of inviting people of all ages to get involved in creating a new piece of art.