A major redevelopment of the Herbert was completed in 2008, creating a number of new permanent exhibitions, many of which feature items from the visual art collections.
The Old Masters gallery features British and European paintings from the 1500’s to the 1900’s; including major works by Luca Giordano, Thomas Lawrence, Johann Zoffany and George Morland. The Sculpture Gallery includes work by Jacob Epstein and Barbara Hepworth, plus an installation by Gustav Metzger acquired in 2015 with the support of the Contemporary Art Society. The collection of modern and contemporary works is displayed in the Art Since 1900 gallery; this features highlights of the British Life and Landscape collection, started by the gallery’s first Art Director, John Hewitt, in the late 1950’s. This includes works by Graham Sutherland relating to the commission of the tapestry for Coventry Cathedral.
The Herbert is actively collecting art on the themes of conflict, peace and reconciliation, reflecting the city’s experiences during the Second World War and subsequently. The collection includes works by Raymond Mason, Peter Howson, John Keane and Peter Kennard, as well as contemporary pieces by Langlands & Bell, Matthew Picton, Chloe Dewe Matthews and Barbara Walker. A selection of these works are usually on display in the Peace and Reconciliation and Art since 1900 galleries.
There is also an active and engaging programme of temporary exhibitions.