Founded in 1833 by members of the Worcestershire Natural History Society, Worcester claims to be one of the oldest museums in the country. The current gallery building was opened to the public in 1896 as part of a gallery and library complex. The historic collection focuses on landscape painting from the 19th-century with a number of works by local artists including the renowned Benjamin Williams Leader. A recent film by Mike Marshall acquired by the Conetmporary Art Society in 20212 echoes the beauty of the Victorian landscape paintings in Worcester City Art Gallery’s collection.
The gallery’s collection of 20th-century painting covers a broad range of subject matter, including work by Stanhope Forbes, Laura Knight, Charles Ginner, Bernard Meninsky, Alan Davie and Duncan Grant. The contemporary collection continues the historical focus on landscape painting, exploring ideas of landscape in works by Paul Noble, Fiona Crisp, Willie Doherty, Richard Billingham, James Island and Heather and Ivan Morison. Since the 1960s the gallery has focused on collecting contemporary prints as a means to expand the collection and introduce the work of living artists to the collection.At the same time it offers a questioning look towards mankind and its current relation to nature, exploring the uprootedness of migrant land-workers, an issue with particular resonance in Worcestershire.