Brunel Museum to expand watercolours project after exceeding crowdfund goal

The project to house Isambard Kingdom Brunel watercolours in a bespoke cabinet has surpassed its crowdfunding goal by 23%.

The Brunel Museum has surpassed its crowdfunding campaign goal to fund the
display a series of watercolours painted by Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The museum first launched the campaign In April, with an initial target of £18,500 for a bespoke, archive-quality case allowing it to display the objects onsite.

When the campaign closed yesterday via Art Happens with Art Fund, the museum had secured £22,724.88 from 201 backers, 23% more than its original goal. Supporters of the campaign were able to choose from a selection of rewards for their donations, ranging from a set of notecards featuring the watercolours to a ‘behind the scenes’ tour.

Having surpassed their target, the Museum said it will not only purchase a case to display the archives in, but will add additional storage to store them onsite. Because of the delicate nature of the objects, not all 30 watercolours will be on display at once and will be rotated throughout the year, it said.

The Brunel Museum's new display

Museum Director Katherine McAlpine said: “We are just bowled over by everyone’s generosity. We know how hard things are for so many people financially at the moment so for so many people to support us at this difficult time means so much for our small Museum. We absolutely cannot wait to get these watercolours on display.”

The watercolours were acquired at auction by the Brunel Museum in 2017 with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Art Fund, V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Friends of the National Libraries.

The Thames Tunnel watercolours are a series of images, hand drawn and coloured by both Brunels during the construction of the Thames Tunnel. They showcase both the Brunels’ unparalleled technical expertise and the surprising artistic skill that went into the Tunnel’s creation.