Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), part of the Birmingham Museums Trust since 2012, occupies part of the City’s council house built in 1879 by architect Yeoville Thomason. The museum, opened in 1885 (preceded by the forming ofan embryonic art collection in 1864) has a strong collection of paintings with the largest public collection of works by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones in the UK. The collection also includes notable works by Old Masters, and paintings by Canaletto and Gainsborough. Its first notable gift by the Contemporary Art Society was by William Rothenstein, Jews Praying in 1924.
The contemporary collection continues to focus on painting, with works by Callum Innes, Ian McKeever, George Shaw and Simon Callery as well as craft with works by Lubna Chowdhary and Vicki Ambery-Smith.
Birmingham has one of the finest collections of metalwork in Europe, with pieces from forty-five contemporary makers including Michael Rowe, Simone ten Hompel, Ane Christensen, Hiroshi Suzuki, Koji Hatakeyama and Graham Crimmins.
It hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. The exhibitions have a particular emphasis on education in line with the gallery’s formal remit to deliver art and design education to the schools of the city. Birmingham is part of a consortium with Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Ikon Gallery, which has been awarded Art Fund International funding to purchase major contemporary works to add to their collections. This partnership is bringing a renewed energy to the participating museums. BMAG is undergoing refurbishmant and will reopen in 2024.