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Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery

A Hamadryad, John William Waterhouse

A Hamadryad, John William Waterhouse

Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in the Drake Circus area of Plymouth, Devon, England is the largest museum and art gallery in the city. It was built in 1907–10 by Thornely and Rooke in Edwardian Baroque style. Its interior was restored in 1954 after being gutted in The Blitz.[1]

The Museum has collections of fine and decorative arts, natural history and human history. The museum's natural history collection consists of over 150,000 specimens and an historic natural history library and archive. Many prehistoric artefacts from Dartmoor, important Bronze Age and Iron Age material from Mount Batten and medieval and post-medieval finds from Plymouth are found in the human history collection alongside artifacts from Ancient Egypt and other ancient cultures of Europe and the Middle East.

The Art Gallery collections include 750 easel paintings, over 3,000 watercolours and drawings, at least 5,000 prints and a sizeable collection of sculptures. A large proportion of the art was donated to the people of Plymouth in 1852 by William Cotton (1795–1863) and is known as the Cottonian Collection. It had been put together principally by the collector Charles Rogers (1711–1784), and includes works by Sir Joshua Reynolds who was born locally.[2]

The gallery also includes items by local artist Robert Lenkiewicz and work by artists of the 19th-century Newlyn School, the influential 20th-century St. Ives group of painters, and the Camden Town Group. Other artists represented are Edgar Degas, Edward Burne-Jones, Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer, John William Waterhouse, Claude Lorrain, Terry Frost, J M W Turner, John Brett, John Everett Millais, Ambrose Bowden Johns, Benjamin Robert Haydon, James Northcote and Samuel Prout. The latter four painters were born locally.

Four new galleries were opened as part of a refurbishment project in early 2009.[3] The renovated ground floor galleries were formally opened by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 25 May 2009.[4] He is Patron of the Friends of Plymouth City Museums & Gallery, which was founded in 1951.

The Museum and Art Gallery is owned and partly funded by Plymouth City Council. The remainder of its operational funding comes from Renaissance in the Regions.

Additional grants are also received for specific projects, acquisitions and conservation duties from funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Art Fund, the Wolfson Foundation and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.

Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (1989). The Buildings of England: Devon. London: Penguin. p. 657. ISBN 0-14-071050-7.
"The Cottonian Collection". Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
"HRH Duke of Edinburgh to visit City Museum and Art Gallery". Plymouth City Council. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
"The Duke of Edinburgh, Patron, Friends of Plymouth City Museums and Art Gallery, this afternoon visited the newly refurbished Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Drake Circus." Court Circular for 25 May 2009.

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