Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery
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Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery is a purpose-built Victorian art gallery in
Wednesbury Wednesbury () is a market town in Sandwell in the county of West Midlands, England. It is located near the source of the River Tame, West Midlands, River Tame. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Staffordshire in the Hundred of Of ...
in the West Midlands of England. It is notable for its
Ruskin Pottery The Ruskin Pottery was an English art pottery studio founded in 1898 by Edward R. Taylor, the first principal of both the Lincoln School of Art and the Birmingham School of Art, to be run by his son, William Howson Taylor, formerly a stude ...
collection and for hosting the first public display of the
Stuckism Stuckism () is an international art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) ...
art movement.


Building

The building was built in 1891 to house a collection of paintings, drawings and watercolours donated by Mrs Mary Ann Richards on behalf of her late husband Edwin, and cost £5821 to build. It was designed by
West Bromwich West Bromwich ( ) is a market town in the borough of Sandwell, West Midlands (county), West Midlands, England. Historic counties of England, Historically part of Staffordshire, it is north-west of Birmingham. West Bromwich is part of the area ...
architects Wood and Kendrick, and built by Henry Wilcock of
Wolverhampton Wolverhampton () is a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition ...
. Four panels on the building's facade show the heads of
Sir Christopher Wren Sir Christopher Wren President of the Royal Society, PRS Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; – ) was one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history, as well as an anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist. ...
to represent Architecture,
Sir Joshua Reynolds Sir Joshua Reynolds (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) was an English painter, specialising in portrait A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface (called ...
for Art,
John Flaxman John Flaxman (6 July 1755 – 7 December 1826) was a British sculpture, sculptor and drawing, draughtsman, and a leading figure in British and European Neoclassicism. Early in his career, he worked as a modeller for Josiah Wedgwood's pottery. ...
for Sculpture, and
Sir Isaac Newton Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, Theology, theologian, and author (described in his time as a "natural philosophy, natural philosopher"), widely ...
for Science. Two busts sit in recesses above the entrance, of Alderman Williams and Alderman Lloyd, both mayors of Wednesbury and chairmen of the Art Gallery Committee. Following the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, the museum was used by the council as offices, but returned to use as a museum in 1972, modernised and renovated.


Permanent exhibitions

The museum holds a number of permanent displays:


The Ruskin Pottery collection

Ruskin Pottery was made in Sandwell, and is sought by collectors globally. The pottery on display exemplifies numerous types of glaze, including Bleu Soufflé, Lustre, Flambé and Crystalline.


The Richards Gallery

The gallery was originally built to display a large collection of works owned by Wednesbury residents, Edwin and Mary Richards. The couple were prolific collectors of art and especially favoured landscapes. In her will, Mary donated her and her husband's collection of paintings to the town of Wednesbury. These are displayed in the Richards Gallery. The works were stored in caves in
Kinver Kinver is a large village in the District of South Staffordshire in Staffordshire Staffordshire (; postal abbreviation Staffs.) is a landlocked Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. I ...
,
Staffordshire Staffordshire (; postal abbreviation Staffs.) is a landlocked Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands region of England. It borders Cheshire to the northwest, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwicks ...
during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. Only some of the paintings were returned to public display when the war ended. The collection now consists of fifty-four paintings, following a large sale by Wednesbury Borough Council in 1948.


Old toys and games

This gallery stores toys and games from Victorian to 20th century. Toy-handling activities are provided for
Key Stage 1 Key Stage 1 is the legal term for the two years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 1 and Year 2, when pupils are aged between 5 and 7. This Key Stage A key stage is a stage of the state education system ...
classes.


Joseph Gibbs

The museum has a significant collection of the works of local artist, Joseph Gibbs, including a probably posthumous portrait of Mary Ann Richards, dated 1891.


Kilvert medals

The museum holds the two
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between Russian Empire, Russia and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Second French Empire, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Uni ...
medals of former Wednesbury mayor, Alderman John Ashley Kilvert JP. They were noted missing in 1974, believed stolen. After passing through several hands, they were bought, innocently, by a medal collector from Walsall. After his death, his widow put them up for auction, when their origin was identified and she agreed to donate them back to the museum. The museum also has his portrait, in oil, in which he is wearing civic regalia. The artist is unknown.


Temporary exhibitions

The Museum hosts a lively series of temporary exhibitions which change every six months. In 2003, the museum staged ''Stuck in Wednesbury'', the first show in a public gallery of the
Stuckism Stuckism () is an international art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) ...
international art movement.Milner, Frank ed., ''The Stuckists Punk Victorian'', p.210,
National Museums Liverpool National Museums Liverpool, formerly National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, comprises several museums and art galleries in and around Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in ...
2004, . An essay from the book is online a
stuckism.com
Between July and December 2013, the museum hosted an exhibition of works by the international video artist, Bill Viola. This exhibition was organised through the Artist Rooms programme in conjunction with the
Tate Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art galleries, the United Kingdom's national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art. It is not a government institution, but its main sponsor is the U ...
Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland. The works on display included ''Catherine's Rooms'', ''Four Hands'' and ''Surrender''. During the first half of 2014, the museum hosted an exhibition of portraits on loan from
Ingestre Hall Ingestre Hall is a Grade II* listed building, Grade II* 17th-century Jacobean architecture, Jacobean mansion situated at Ingestre, near Stafford, Staffordshire, England. Formerly the seat of the Earl Talbot, Earls Talbot and then the Earls of Sh ...
, the 17th-century Jacobean mansion and seat of the Earls Talbot and the
Earls of Shrewsbury Earl of Shrewsbury () is a hereditary title of nobility Nobility is a social class found in many societies that have an aristocracy (class), aristocracy. It is normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty. Nobility has often b ...
.


References


External links


Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery website (Sandwell MBC microsite)
{{authority control Museums in the West Midlands (county) Art museums and galleries in the West Midlands (county) Toy museums in England Decorative arts museums in England Local museums in the West Midlands (county) Wednesbury Ceramics museums in the United Kingdom Art museums established in 1891 1891 establishments in England