Blackburn is known for its place in history as one of the greatest weaving capitals in the world. Weaving transformed what was a small market town into a bustling industrial heartland. The rich collections now housed at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery were born from the proceeds of this industry and the generosity of its industrialists.
The collection contains a small number of Old Masters including works by Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth, Godfrey Kneller and Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi as well as the popular British artists such as Richard Ansdell, David Murray, Thomas Faed and Edmund Morison Wimperis. A few nineteenth-century foreign artists are represented including Rosa Bonheur, Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven and Julien Gustave Gagliardini. But perhaps the best-known painting at Blackburn is Frederic Leighton’s Mother and Child (‘Cherries’).
The Contemporary Art Society contributed 20th-century art with pictures by Nina Hamnett, Horace Brodzky and Josef Herman. With Blackburn’s renewed museum membership of the CAS, in 2021, it will continue, with the assistance of the Friends of Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, to actively acquire paintings with a local provenance which record and reflect for posterity the changes the borough has already witnessed.