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Reading Museum







Reading, South


Museum Member (CAS)


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Reading Museum (run by the Reading Borough Council) is accommodated in Reading Town Hall, which was built in several phases between 1786 and 1897, with the principal facade designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1875 and three art galleries added in a further extension. The founding collection is a group of 19th-century paintings, given by William Isaac Palmer of the world-famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit makers. The museum was closed for renewal in 1989, reopening in stages from 1993 to 2000. It has an extensive art and craft collection including over four hundred oil paintings.

Reading Foundation for Art is a registered charity that was set up in 1974 with the ambition of building an art collection to enrich the lives of the local residents and enhance the cultural fabric of Reading and the surrounding areas. It now has a collection of over 200 works on permanent loan to Reading Museum and includes works by important modern British artists such as Paul Nash, Mary Fedden, Julian Trevelyan and Terry FrostStanley and Gilbert Spencer John Piper and David Bomberg. Significant artists who have taught fine art in Reading like Robert Gibbings, Alan Seaby, Jean Spencer and Stephen Buckley are in the permanent collection.

Reading Museum renewed its membership of the Contemporary Art Society in 2015 and acquired 8 poetic political text screenprints, Shouting in Whispers by ex-social worker Helen Cammock soon after. More recently Eleanor Lakelin was commissioned on behalf of Reading Borough Council with funds from the first ever crowdfunder organised by the CAS, the Rapid Response Fund 2020, to memorialise Reading Gaol’s most famous inmate, Oscar Wilde. Oh, Beautiful World! was created from the timber of Horse Chestnut trees that lined the avenue beside the gaol until felled in 2019.





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