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University of Hull Art Collection





Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber


Museum / Recipient


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In 1963 the University of Hull decided to form a collection to bring its students into contact with real works of art. With the available resources it was decided to specialise in the then largely neglected area of art in Britain from 1890 to 1940. The person responsible for this bold initiative was Hull's lecturer in history of art, Dr Malcolm Easton, the first Honorary Curator. A bequest from the local philanthropist, Thomas Robinson Ferens (1847-1930), provided the £300 a year to buy works. In the early years the collection was displayed on the first floor of the Brynmor Jones Library. Easton was tireless in raising funds and obtaining gifts and by 1967 the Collection numbered some 70 works and moved into two purpose-built galleries in the basement of Sir Leslie Martin’s newly built Middleton Hall.

In 2015 the Collection returned to its original home to be displayed in a new, bigger and better gallery on the ground floor of a massively refurbished Brynmor Jones Library. Hull’s collection now contains about 500 paintings, drawings, watercolours, cartoons and sculpture, and is particularly strong on the Camden Town and Bloomsbury groups. It includes works by Augustus John, Aubrey Beardsley, Philip Wilson Steer, Samuel Peploe, Stanley Spencer, Wyndham Lewis, Henry Moore and Ben Nicholson. Over 30 of which have been presented by the Contemporary Art Society, including the one half of a pair of bas-reliefs, A Roland for an Oliver / Joie de Vivre by Eric Gill which were purchased by Roger Fry and Robert Ross as the first pieces of sculpture acquried by the CAS in 1911 (the other half being Crucifixion at Tate) and an abstract work by the avant-garde Guyanese artst, Aubrey Williams, originally purchased by the Contemporary Art Society in 1963.


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