The majority of the collection was built up during the mid 1800s to the late 1930s, resulting in fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian painting. The 20th-century collection includes important works by artists of the Newlyn and St Ives School including Peter Phillips, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron. Oldham has a growing contemporary collection, including works by Yasumasa Morimura, Laura Ford and Alice Maher.
The craft collection features work by leading studio potters of the early 20th-century, including Michael Cardew and Lucie Rie. Oldham’s priority is on developing its ceramic collection; recent acquisitions include works by Stephen Dixon, Claire Curneen and Julian Stair. The gallery’s collection is not on permanent display but features in an annual exhibition. Items from the permanent collection can often be seen in a number of themed temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Located on the second floor, the gallery is easily accessible by lift. Stepping out of the lift you are confronted by the monumental Victorian painting The Death of Cleopatra by John Collier, beyond this impressive painting there is much more to inspire.