The birth of Cheltenham’s Art gallery & Museum came in 1898 when the former Mayor of the town, 3rd Baron de Ferrieres, gifted a number of important paintings to the people of Cheltenham along with £1,000 towards creating a new gallery in which to house them. Since that time the gallery has seen several changes, the latest of which were unveiled to the public in autumn 2013 following a £6 million redesign.
The gallery’s new look comes courtesy of architects Berman Guedes Stretton who have created an elegant and stylish setting for the Art Gallery and Museum’s ever-expanding collections, including everything from Bronze Age swords to fine furnishings and sedan chairs.
The building is split across four floors which will house areas dedicated to the gallery’s extensive fine art collection along with space dedicated to local heroes, including Edward Wilson who was one of the key members of Robert Falcon Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic. There will also be an Arts and Crafts gallery displaying a world-renowned designated collection, and two galleries dedicated to temporary exhibitions where both highlights from the collections and touring shows will be on display.
The Art Gallery & Museum’s opening exhibition will be Casting Brilliance: Colin Reid, which celebrates the work of this internationally renowned local glass artist. Following this, the annual open competition and exhibition, The open west, will take over the space, featuring work from artists across the globe, with touring shows from the National Portrait Gallery due to go on display next year.
As well as all this, the redevelopment will also become the new home for the town’s tourism services and will also provide a new retail outlet for the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen where beautiful and contemporary crafts can be displayed and sold on site.
Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, Clarence Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Gl50 3JT. Tel: 01242 237 431. www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk