Gallery manager Andrew Shedden with the Nebuchadnezzar
A new exhibit has gone on show at the Turner Contemporary - the largest bottle of English sparkling wine ever made.
Tenterden-based vineyard Chapel Down has created a 15 litre Nebuchadnezzar of its gold medal-winning Blanc de Blancs 2007 sparkling wine.
The 26 kilogram bottle was produced in preparation for a special landmark at the museum – its millionth visitor.
Nebuchadnezzar of wine next to a regular sized bottle
Chapel Down will be awarding 20 bottles of its sparkling wine – the equivalent number of bottles in a Nebuchadnezzar – to the millionth Turner Contemporary visitor, expected later this month.
In September, Chapel Down will tour the giant bottle to restaurants and bars across the country before auctioning it to raise money for the gallery, which is a registered charity.
Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomeroy said: “It hardly seems possible that we are expecting our millionth visitor, given that we opened in April 2011.
“Our predictions were for about 156,000 visitors in the first year and 133,000 in the second, so on the original projections it would have taken about five years to get there.
"But we are just around the 980,000 mark already and we do think we will get to 1,000,000 this month, as long as people keep coming!”
The £17 million gallery in Margate was opened on April 16, 2011, by artist Tracey Emin and musician Jools Holland.
The building was designed by Sir David Chipperfield, and is named after English Romantic artist Joseph Mallord William Turner, a regular visitor to the seaside town.
Turner Contempoary director Victoria Pomeroy
About 20% of visitors are from Thanet, 30% from Kent as a whole, 3% from overseas and a large number of the rest from London.
Victoria said: “I think the gallery has been massively popular partly because it is such an iconic building.
"It is a wonderful design and when you are inside the building there is a sense of being beside the sea, and there is also an excellent quality of light.
"I think the quality of the programme has also been a big driver for visits. We have had exhibitions by a range of artists from JMW Turner to Tracey Emin, and the content is constantly changing.”
As part of a new campaign at the gallery, One in a Million, visitors are being asked to upload their images or recollections of a visit to the gallery or to Margate at tcmillion.org.
Matt Holter, Andrew Shedden and Adam Douglas fit the perspex cover to the Nebuchadnezzar
Everyone who takes part will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win one of five passes offering two adults free entry to six of Kent’s top attractions.
Victoria said: “It’s about people sharing their special moments and about encouraging people to come back.
"If you came to the Turner Contemporary last year it’s definitely not the same programme now that you saw then.
"We are constantly changing what we do here which means that you can come back time and time again and always see something different – for free.”
To share your experiences of the Turner Contemporary, visit tcmillion.org
The gallery is open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday and bank holidays. Admission is free.
Call 01843 233000 or visit www.turner contemporary.org