There is a strong collection of European Old Master paintings with a particular focus on portraiture, including works by Frans Hals, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Wyndham Lewis. The contemporary collection continues with the portraiture theme, extending the historical tradition of portraiture to include broader themes of the body and identity, with work by John Coplans, Nan Goldin, Alan Curell and Torsten Lauschmann.
The main galleries house a semi-permanent display of work from the collection, showing key items from the 16th to the 21st centuries. The permanent display of work within the gallery is supported by an annual themed exhibition which draws upon a different aspect of the collection.
The train journey to Hull feels like an adventure. Under the Humber Bridge, skirting the water for much of the journey, the Ferens is worth whatever trip is required. The collections, housed in a wonderful civic building in the centre of the city, tell the story of another period of city pride and patronage. This is an important collection, hung with great care. The majority of the contemporary video works by artists such as Alan Currel are shown alongside the modern and historic collection. Hull is made great, in part, thanks to the Ferens.