The collection includes a range of work from 16th and 17th-century northern European artists to a substantial collection of Victorian genre and landscape painting.
The collection includes Modernist works by Vanessa Bell and is particularly strong in works by local artists including Benjamin C Brierley, John Collier (also known as Tim Bobbin) and Charles Donald Taylor. There are some notable modernist works by Vanessa Bell.
The contemporary collection is particularly strong in work dating from the 1970s, featuring pieces by Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Gillian Ayres and Nicholas Pope. Other key artists from the 1980s onwards include Susan Hiller, Cornelia Parker, Mariele Neudecker, Laura Ford and Luke Gottelier.
The gallery exhibits themed displays of its permanent collection which change every six months. These are accompanied by a series of temporary exhibitions curated in partnership with other arts organisations.
Above the town’s tourist information office you will find the surprisingly contemporary spaces of Touchstones Rochdale. Once inside the gallery, ceramic cabinets and small bronzes scatter the floor around displays of painting and photography from the 17th-century to the present.