A series of galleries display an impressive Arts and Crafts collection, including furniture designed by Charles Voysey and a selection of works by local designers Charles Ashbee, Ernest Gimson and Sidney and Ernest Barnsley. Pieces made for retail outlets such as Heal’s and Liberty are used to illustrate the way this Art and Crafts style was adapted for the commercial market. The gallery has a lively temporary exhibition programme showing a series of exhibitions throughout the year.
The temporary exhibition space is at the entrance of the museum whilst the permanent collections are accessed through the museum’s shop, up the pleasingly squeaky stairs. The Arts and Craft collection is really pleasing — jewellery, some painting, ceramics and large pieces of furniture, with more recent acquisitions, including a beautiful ‘Shift Cabinet’ by Wales & Wales purchased by the Friends of the Museum in 1997.
A small collection of good modern design is displayed not far from a table and inlaid chest dating from 1600. The painting collection is dispersed, somewhat domestically, in relation to these displays — tucked away is a nice Lynn Chadwick sculpture.