The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery was founded when John Russell, a local doctor, donated his collection of impressionist paintings to the city in 1926. In 1981 the collection moved into a purpose-built gallery in the Hanley area of the city of Stoke-on-Trent. The fine art collection focuses on 20th-century art and includes notable works by the Scottish Colourists, Walter Sickert, Duncan Grant, Gilbert Spencer, William Roberts, Terry Frost and Eileen Cooper. The contemporary collection contains and unusual ‘history’ painting by the conceptual artist Mark Wallinger and most recently the Contemporary Art Society acquired a watercolour by the Indian-born Rina Banerjee inspired by the connection of the architectural sculptor and art teacher, John Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911) who attended art classes at Stoke before moving to India where he taught at the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art in Mumbai and the Mayo School of Industrial Arts in Lahore (today Pakistan’s National College of Arts) with the longest title of a CAS donated artwork so far: In turmeric Yellow, another world apart from ours, bathed in humans as resources, natural riches seated in natures warm throne, golden and delicious, encrusted in sugary plants and rambunctious animals waited, watched when small factories tired in the business of making money could not make me a mango, 2020.
With Stoke’s history of ceramic production the contemporary collection is characterised by works that explore the processes and history of ceramic design, challenging traditional divisions between ceramics, fine art and textiles. Notable craft makers represented include Philip Eglin, Grayson Perry, Sarah Lucas, Mona Hatoum, Laura Ford, Lin Cheung, Anya Gallaccio and Nina Saunders.
Stoke is most famous for its collection of over 5,000 pieces of ceramics charting the development of the pottery industry, with well-known names like Bernard Leach, Michael Cardew, Jacqueline Poncelet and Carol McNicoll having been contributed to by the CAS with its Special Collection Scheme, with the aid of Arts Council Lottery Funding between 1997 and 2004. The museum also holds the Bergen Collection of studio pottery, the Pinchen Collection and the Lindridge Collection of post-war studio pottery. The Potteries hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year to complement the regularly changing displays of the permanent collection.