Exhibitions 2012

A Public Affair: 130 Years of Fine Art Collecting at the Harris

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6 May - 15 September

In 1882, during Guild week, the foundation stone was laid for the Harris Free Public Library and Museum. Even though the building did not open until 1893, from the very beginning plans were afoot to include galleries devoted to the fine arts, and over time, build up a permanent collection of art. From those early beginnings to the present day
A Public Affair looks back, and celebrates 130 years of collecting art at the Harris.

The core of the collection came to the Harris in 1883 with the bequest of Preston lawyer, Richard Newsham. The collection quickly grew with further bequests and gifts, and purchases from the Royal Academy. Support from organisations such as the Contemporary Art Society, and more recently the Heritage Lottery Fund have also helped the collection to grow and evolve. Today, while still collecting works that reflect the historic collection, the Harris maintains the principles of our founding benefactor, to collect new works by artists of the day.
See a Victorian style display and explore changing tastes in collecting. Find out how the collection grew in the 20th century, and how it continues to grow today. The exhibition includes paintings that have not been on display for some time, takes a look at old favourites from a new perspective, and features recently acquired works. Artists featured include J.M.W. Turner, Alfred Munnings, Laura Knight, and Andy Goldsworthy.

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