In 1941 Swindon’s art collection was established by an impressive donation of 21 works by local businessman HJP Bomford. This collection has been built on and today Swindon Museum and Art Gallery owns a modern art collection of outstanding quality and importance. v
The Swindon Collection of Modern British Art consists of around 600 works of art and 300 studio ceramics, made between 1880 and 2017 by artists who lived and worked in Britain. The art collection includes 2D and 3D material, but does not currently include film, large sculptures or installation. The Museum and Art Gallery works with the Art Fund and Contemporary Art Society to continue to acquire modern and contemporary works of art and has been a member of the Contemporary Art Society since 1946.
The collection includes modern and contemporary oil and acrylic paintings by most major movements in British art, including:
- St Ives (represented by Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Terry Frost)
- Unit One (John Nash, Edward Wadsworth and Graham Sutherland)
- Bloomsbury Group (Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant)
- Camden Town Group (Sylvia Gosse, Robert Bevan, Spencer Gore)
- The School of London (Leon Kossoff, Howard Hodgkin and David Bomberg)
- Pop Art (Richard Hamilton, Allan Jones, Richard Smith)
- Abstraction (Gillian Ayres, John Hoyland and Roger Hilton)
Swindon holds a selection of works on paper, including several pre-20th century works by Augustus John, George Clausen and Jules Lessore. There is a growing collection of editioned works including engravings, lithograph, silkscreen and digital prints by artists including Cecil Collins, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud and Joe Tilson.
Swindon also owns a significant collection of modern and contemporary studio ceramics including works by Lucy Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin and Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie.
There is a small collection of modern sculpture by artists including Michael Craig-Martin, Stephen Tomlin, H Carleton Attwood and Roger Leigh.
Swindon Museum and Arty Gallery also has an extensive collection of art by Swindon artists, showing how the town has changed since the 19th century.