The Athenaeum – Art Gallery Annexe
Whitworth Art Gallery
CornerHouse, Oxford Road
Salford City Art Gallery, Peel Park
Viewpoint Gallery, Salford
Former Fletcher Moss Art Gallery, Didsbury
Chinese Arts Centre, Chinatown, Manchester
The Manchester Art Gallery
Street, City Centre, Manchester M2 3JL.
Tel: 0161-235 8888. Fax: 0161-235 8899. Minicom: 0161-235 8893.
Formerly known as the City Art Gallery, the Manchester Art Gallery
houses what is claimed to be one of Britain’s best art collections
and has recently undergone a £35m makeover. This is the
largest of Manchester’s Art Galleries, and houses an extensive
collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics, with paintings
by Turner, Stubbs and Gainsborough. The collection includes
over 2,000 oil paintings, 3,000 watercolours, 250 sculptures
and over 10,000 prints.
It also houses one of the largest collections of Pre-Raphaelite
paintings in the world, with paintings by Hunt, Rossetti, Madox
Brown, Burne-Jones, Arthur Hughes and others. The Decorative
Arts Collections include some 12,000 artefacts from various
periods and cultures including ceramics, glass and furniture.
There is an on-site caf� and shop. Free 30 minute guided tours
every Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm. (Please check before setting
off as times may have changed).
The architect was Sir Charles Barry, celebrated architect of
the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. This elegant symmetrical
Greek building, begun in 1825, was built for the Royal Institution,
which had been formed in 1823 to promote “the interests of literature,
science and the arts, and the obtaining of a channel by which
the works of meritorious artists might be brought before the
public”. Its powerful triangular pediment, supported by heavy
Doric columns, dominates Mosley Street, and has a hidden roof-lit
entrance hall, which has remained largely unchanged since it
was first built.
In 1882 it was transferred to Manchester Corporation who began
acquiring works of art to create this large collection, which,
nowadays, spills over into the old Athenaeum Building behind
– this is also the subject of considerable refurbishment and
a novel soultion to joining two great Manchester buildings together
(See Athenaeum -next). The motto for the building reads “Nihilpulchrum
nisi utile” (Nothing beautiful unless useful).
Opening: Tuesday-Sunday 10.00am-5.00pm. Closed Mondays
except Bank Holidays. Also closed 1 January, Good Friday, 24-26
and 31 December. (Times may have changed – please check before
Toilets, disabled toilets, Guide Dogs admitted, Restaurant,
Group Visits catered for by prior arrangement, Baby-changing
facilities, Complies with the National Code of Practice for
Visitor Attractions. Gallery Guides and audio tours available
in English, Cantonese and Urdu. Braille and large print versions
available in galleries. Large Gallery shop offering art books,
prints, postcards and gifts based on the gallery collections.
The Gallery Restaurant offers simple food all day and there
is also a café on site.
Admission is free
After 1882, The Royal Institution which had been based in the
present City Art Gallery (above) transferred its art treasures
to Manchester Corporation, conditional upon �4,000 a year being
committed from rates by the Corporation to purchase further
works of art. The original gallery soon became overcrowded,
and after many other new sites had been rejected, it was decided
to build the Athenaeum, immediately behind the City Gallery
as an extension to the gallery’s facilities. Charles Barry,
who had designed the Art Gallery, was commissioned to build
the Athenaeum. This time he chose a Tuscan Italian Palazzo style,
quite different from the original, with a connecting entrance
directly with the Art Gallery, and a separate entrance in Princess
Street. This now forms a visiting or temporary art and craft
exhibition space, with frequently changing and exciting shows
on offer. Both the eminent art critic John Ruskin, and Charles
Dickens gave lectures in this building. Now part of the main
Manchester City Art Gallery – the subject of considerable refurbishment
and a novel solution to joining two great Manchester buildings