Venice, New York, Paris and Petersfield: It sounds like an East Hampshire imitation of Only Fools and Horses.

But that’s the link being celebrated by Petersfield Museum & Art Gallery as an exhibition devoted to a world-famous collector has opened in a major coup for the town.

Doyens of the art world descended on St Peter’s Road last week for the launch of the Peggy Guggenheim: Petersfield to Palazzo exhibition.

The museum investigated the link between Petersfield and Guggenheim as they wanted to do “something bold” to mark its 25th anniversary.

And the four-month exhibition is just that, with the Guggenheim Collection Venice loaning a range of world-renowned pieces collected by Peggy throughout the 20th century.

Few need reminding that Guggenheim is one of the world’s most famous art surnames with landmark collections in New York and Bilbao among others.

But many are unaware that Peggy lived between Petersfield and South Harting from 1934 to 1939. The period was transformational as she started taking a serious interest in collecting art during her period on the West Sussex border.

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Around 20 people attended the press launch of the exhibition, which features pieces from the Guggenheim collection in Venice. (Tindle/Paul Ferguson)

The exhibition, which is spread out throughout the museum and art gallery, tells her story and is cleverly entwined with the attraction’s own pieces. 

“When Louise Weller (head of collections) joined us two years ago one of the early set of conversations we had was how to do we celebrate our 25th anniversary,” said director, Dan McWilliam.

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The exhibition features a Henry Moore sculpture and some incredible pieces from the 20th century. (Tindle/Paul Ferguson)

“We wanted to do something that was bold and put us on the map, and we wanted to use our connected new spaces, our collection, and tell a story that people didn’t know about but was located locally.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves and we’ve done just that.”

A accompanying programme of tours, workshops, talks and walks has been created, visit for more details.