In 1944 local resident H. J. P. 'Jimmy' Bomford donated a collection of artworks to the city, creating the foundations for Swindon Art Gallery. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery houses two collections: the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art which represents artists with national and international reputations and Swindon Museum Art Collection which mainly presents paintings of the locality. Swindon’s collection is comprised of a selection of British artists from the modern period including Gwen John, Augustus John, Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, Henry Moore and Ivon Hitchens. More recent artists' work includes pieces by Terry Frost, Howard Hodgkin and Lisa Milroy.
Swindon recently acquired the work Laundromat Locomotion, consisting of twelve photographs by Turner Prize short-listed artist, Steven Pippin alongside works by R. B. Kitaj, Eileen Cooper, Basil Beattie, Ivon Hitchens, Maggi Hambling and Tony Bevan. It also holds a significant collection of studio pottery, with works by Bernard Leach, Lucie Rie and Hans Coper and recently acquired a Large flow pot (2014) by Fenella Elms, formerly a mental health practitioner.
Swindon MAG is currently closed and is hoping to open at an alternative venue in Swindon town centre. In the meantime, it continues to acquire new works of art, through the Contemporary Art Society, having been a member museum since its foundation, including the photographuic collages by Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and a ceramic piece Nightfall (2015) by Danish-born Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, both inspired by folklore.