History of York Art Gallery
York Art Gallery’s collection of paintings spans more than 600 years and works range from 14th century Italian panels and 17th century Dutch masterpieces to Victorian narrative paintings and 20th century works by LS Lowry and David Hockney.
We also hold the most extensive and representative collection of British Studio Ceramics, thanks to the acquisition of collections from Dean Milner–White, WA Ismay and Henry Rothschild and the recent long term loan of Anthony Shaw’s collection.
The building which houses the gallery opened its doors to the public in 1879 for the second Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition, inspired by the Great Exhibition in London of 1851. In 1892 it became the City Art Gallery.
The gallery looks out over Exhibition Square, also created in 1879, and beyond to the city walls and York Minster. The centrepiece of the square is a statue of York artist William Etty which was erected in 1911.
York Art Gallery holds the largest collection of work by Etty and in 2011 held the first major exhibition of his work for 50 years, showing many of these paintings and sketches alongside loans from other major galleries.
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