Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
Established 1885
Location Chamberlain Square, Birmingham
Visitor figures 856,000[1]

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BM&AG) (grid reference SP066869) is a museum and art gallery in Birmingham, England.

Entrance to the Museum and Art Gallery is free, but some major exhibitions in the Gas Hall incur an entrance fee. It has a collection of international importance covering fine art, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery, archaeology, ethnography, local history and industrial history.



Industrial Gallery, the original part of the Art Gallery

In 1829 the Birmingham Society of Artists created a private exhibition building in New Street, Birmingham while the historical precedent for public education around that time produced the Factory Act 1833, the first instance of Government funding for education.

The Museums Act 1845 “[empowered] boroughs with a population of 10,000 or more to raise a 1/2d for the establishment of museums.” [2] In 1864 the first public exhibition room, was opened when the Society and other donors presented 64 pictures as well as the Sultanganj Buddha to Birmingham Council and these were housed in the Free Library building but, due to lack of space, the pictures had to move to Aston Hall.[3] Joseph Nettlefold donated twenty-five pictures by David Cox to Birmingham Art Gallery on the condition it opened on Sundays.[4]

In June 1880, local artist Allen Edward Everitt accepted the post of honorary curator of the Free Art Gallery, a municipal institution which was the forerunner of the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.[5]

Jesse Collings, Mayor of Birmingham 1878-79, was responsible for free libraries in Birmingham and was the original proponent of the Birmingham Art Gallery. A £10,000 (2010: £800,000) gift by Sir Richard and George Tangye started a new drive for an art gallery and, in 1885, following other donations and £40,000 from the council, the Prince of Wales officially opened the new gallery.[3][6] The Museum and Art Gallery occupied an extended part of the Council House above the new offices of the municipal Gas Department (which in effect subsidised the venture thus circumventing the Public Libraries Act 1850 which limited the use of public funds on the arts).The building was designed by Yeoville Thomason.[7]

Sculpture William Bloye's Allegories of Art and Industry c 1919, over the north-west door of the Feeney Gallery extension, Great Charles Street

Until 1946, when Property Taxes were voted towards acquisitions, the museum relied on the generosity of private individuals.[3] John Feeney provided £50,000 to provide a further gallery.

Seven galleries had to be rebuilt after being bombed in 1940.[3] Immediately after World War II "Mighty Mary" Woodall was appointed keeper of art under director, Trenchard Cox. Woodall and Cox, through their links to the London art world, were able to attract exhibitions, much publicity and donations to the gallery. In 1956 Woodall replaced Cox when the latter became Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.[8]

In 1951 the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham was incorporated into BM&AG. In 2001 the Science Museum closed with some exhibits being transferred to Thinktank, Birmingham science museum, which is operated by the independent Thinktank Trust.

The link bridge between the original Art Gallery and the Art Gallery Extension.

The main entrance is located in Chamberlain Square below the clock tower known locally as, “Big Brum”. The entrance hall memorial reads 'By the gains of Industry we promote Art'.[3] The Extension Block has entrances via the Gas Hall (Edmund Street) and Great Charles Street. Waterhall (the old gas department) has its own entrance on Edmund Street.

In October 2010 the Waterhall closed as a BM&AG gallery as a result of a £1.5m cut to Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery's budget in 2010-11. The last BM&AG exhibition that took place in the Waterhall was the Steve McCurry Retrospective that ran from June 26th to 17th October 2010. The Waterhall is now available for venue hire. It was booked by the Art of Ideas for The Witching Hour exhibition November 11th to November 14th 2010. This is the last time the Waterhall was used as an exhibition space.

BM&AG is managed by Birmingham City Council.


The Art Gallery is most noted for its extensive collections of paintings ranging from the 14th to the 21st century. They include works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the largest collection of works by Edward Burne-Jones in the world. Notable painters in oil include the following:

English School

Paintings from the Dutch School include a painting each from Jan van Goyen and Willem van de Velde the Younger.

Flemish School

French School


German School

Italian School

Spanish School

The Round Room including Jacob Epstein's The Archangel Lucifer (1944-5)


The collection of antiquities includes coins from ancient times through to the Middle Ages, artefacts from Ancient India and Central Asia, Ancient Cyprus and Ancient Egypt. There is material from Classical Greece, the Roman Empire and Latin America. There is also mediaeval material.

In respect of local and industrial history, the tower of the Birmingham HP Sauce factory was a famous landmark alongside the Aston Expressway which was demolished in the summer of 2007.[23] The giant logo from the top of the tower is now in the collection of the Museum.

Community museums

BM&AG also has many branch museums (some closed in the Winter) in historic buildings:

The Museum of Science and Industry, on Newhall Street from 1951–1997, has now closed. Many exhibits were moved to Thinktank, Birmingham science museum, which is operated by the independent Thinktank Trust.

The Museums Collections Centre in Nechells has brought together 80 per cent of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery’s stored collections under one roof. The 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) site, close to Duddeston Station, holds hundreds of thousands of objects. At the moment the Museums Collection Centre is only open to the public on open days or by appointment.


Star of Bethlehem by Edward Burne-Jones  
The Sultanganj Buddha  
Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends by Lawrence Alma-Tadema  
The Blind Girl by Millais  
Birmingham from the Dome of St Philip's Church by Samuel Lines  

See also


  1. ^ "Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery - Annual Review 2009 / 10". Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  2. ^ Kelly & Kelly (1977), p. 77
  3. ^ a b c d e 'Economic and Social History: Social History since 1815', A History of the County of Warwick: VII The City of Birmingham (1964), pp. 223-245. Feeney (accessed: 30 January 2008).
  4. ^ Barbara M. D. Smith, ‘Nettlefold, Joseph Henry (1827–1881)’, rev. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  5. ^ W. J. Harrison, ‘Everitt, Allen Edward (1824–1882)’, rev. Stephen Wildman, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004
  6. ^ "Death of Sir Richard Tangye". New York Times. 1906-10-15. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  7. ^ Details from listed building database (217695) . Images of England. English Heritage.
  8. ^ Kenneth Garlick, ‘Woodall, Mary (1901–1988)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Demolition of HP factory begins

Further reading

External links

Coordinates: 52°28′49.08″N 1°54′13.63″W / 52.4803°N 1.9037861°W / 52.4803; -1.9037861

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Derby Museum and Art Gallery — The 1964 extension to the original building houses the museum and art gallery today Established 1879 (1879) …   Wikipedia

  • Derby Museum and Art Gallery — Musée de Derby Derby Museum and Art Gallery Informations géographiques Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Stirling Smith Museum and Art Gallery — [ Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum] is an institution based in Stirling, Central Scotland, dedicated to the promotion of cultural and historical heritage and the arts, from a local scale to nationally… …   Wikipedia

  • Birmingham Museum of Art — infobox Museum name= Birmingham Museum of Art imagesize = 200 established= April, 1951 location= 2000 Eighth Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203 latitude= 33.52195 longitude= 86.81018 type= Municipal Art Museum director= Gail Andrews website …   Wikipedia

  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery — Infobox Museum name = Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery imagesize = 125 map type = latitude = longitude = established = 1885 location = Chamberlain Square, Birmingham type = visitors = director = curator = publictransit= website = http://www.bmag …   Wikipedia

  • art galleries and art museums — In Britain, works of art are displayed in art galleries and, especially outside London, in museums. Shops that sell paintings are also called galleries. In the US public art collections are displayed in art museums, and a gallery is a place where …   Universalium

  • Birmingham Museum — can refer to any of the following institutions:Birmingham, England* Birmingham Museum Art Gallery * Birmingham Railway Museum now known as Tyseley Locomotive Works * Thinktank, Birmingham (science museum) * Birmingham Institute of Art and… …   Wikipedia

  • Art and Art Exhibitions — ▪ 2009 Introduction Art       The art market enjoyed an astonishing run of record breaking sales through the first nine months of a volatile 2008. In May Lucian Freud s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995), a candid portrayal of a corpulent female …   Universalium

  • Birmingham Institute of Art and Design — The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) is the largest British university art design teaching and research centre outside London. It is part of Birmingham City University (formerly Birmingham Polytechnic and the University of Central… …   Wikipedia

  • Colony (art gallery) — COLONY is an independent artist run non commercial art gallery based in Birmingham, England. The gallery was established in 2004 by two Irish born artists: Mona Casey and Paul McAree. It has nomadically existed in a variety of spaces over the… …   Wikipedia