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New commissions, Old Masters and more than 2,000 ceramic works now feature in York Art Gallery’s new displays of designated collections following the reopening on Yorkshire Day, August 1 2015.

The gallery’s collection of Italian Old Masters is displayed alongside substantial new research in The Madsen Gallery (previously called the Main Gallery). This is complimented by loans from major public collections.

An exhibition curated and created by Mark Hearld is on display in the Upper North Gallery, while works by David Hockney, Stanley Spencer, Paul Nash and L.S Lowry will feature in the Burton Gallery.

The launch of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) now showcases more than 2,000 works including a 17 metre long Wall of Pots which will be displayed by colour to create a rainbow effect. There is also a major new commission by renowned ceramist Clare Twomey.

The reopening of the gallery has seen an increase of eleven full time jobs.

Jennifer Alexander, curator of art, said:

“For the opening displays we wanted to show off the strength of our permanent collections, while combining this with significant loans and thought provoking commissions.

“The Lycett Green collection of Italian Old Masters are what truly sets York apart as a regional gallery and this new research will reveal some fascinating new findings about some of the works.

“This collection will be contrasted with modern and contemporary art from some of the most significant artists of the last 100 years plus new work created by the well known York artist Mark Hearld.

“The new mezzanine level and the Upper South gallery will be home to CoCA with thousands of ceramics on show alongside an exciting new installation by Claire Twomey.”

The exhibitions make use of the 60 per cent more exhibition space created by the £8 million development of the gallery.

The Exhibitions and Installations

The Madsen Galleries

The new suite of three galleries on the ground floor are named after brother and sister Peter and Karen Madsen, who left their £2.2 million estate to York Art Gallery which was used to help fund the development. The galleries’ opening displays will be:

Highlights of the Lycett Green Collection by Italian Old Masters from the 14th to the 18th Century. The exhibition features new research by Eloise Donnelly, Curatorial Trainee at the gallery as part of the National Gallery’s Curatorial Traineeship programme.*

The gallery’s own works by artists such as Bernardo Daddi, Bernardino Fungai and Parmigianino are complimented by significant loans from major public collections and contemporary commissions.

An exhibition of some of York Art Gallery’s best paintings, prints and drawings of this beautiful city, spanning 300 years is also featured including all 13 works that were commissioned in the 1950s as part of the Evelyn Award, including the famous work of Clifford’s Tower by L.S Lowry.

A second exhibition of further works from the Lycett Green collection, focuses on how the gift has enriched York’s holdings of European Old Master paintings for over 50 years.

The display includes Dutch and Flemish paintings by artists such as Frans Snyders, Anthony Van Dyck and Jan van Os and other key European painters including Luis Egidio Melendez, Juan Valdes Leal and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, juxtaposed with contemporary works from the collection.

The Burton Gallery

Some of the gallery’s most famous Victorian, Modern and Contemporary works are on show, including pieces by Walter Sickert, Sir Stanley Spencer, David Bomberg, Paul Nash, David Hockney, Sarah Lucas and Henri Fantin-Latour.

It also showcases work by York’s most famous artist William Etty and Richard Jack’s The Return to the Front, which was voted the gallery’s most popular work.

The North Gallery Upper

The exhibition The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures, is curated and created by York based artist Mark Hearld. It features objects from across York Museums Trust’s collections, including oil paintings, works on paper, taxidermy and social history.

Mark has also created new work in response to the objects including individually decorated ceramic slip cast horses made in response to the Leeds Horses in the collection.

The Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA)

The Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) is housed in two new spaces created within York Art Gallery – the mezzanine level in the original Victorian Roof Void and a newly built gallery above the Madsen Galleries. Together they make up 450m squared of exhibition space.

On the mezzanine level highlights of gallery’s British Studio Ceramic collection, the largest in the world, is shown.

It includes the collections of The Very Reverend Dean Milner – White, W.A. Ismay, Henry Rothschild and Anthony Shaw with works by Bernard Leach, William Staite Murray, Michael Cardew, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and Felicity Aylieff.

The second CoCA space houses the 17m long Wall of Pots, displayed by colour to create a giant rainbow effect.

The display features ceramics from across all our extensive ceramic collections, with works dating from Pre-history to the present day. We also showcase the Anthony Shaw collection which is on long term loan to the gallery.

This is be displayed in a domestic style setting, as it was previously shown in Shaw’s home in London. The first display will be curated by Anthony Shaw.

A new commission by Clare Twomey, Manifest: 10,000 Hours, is now on display in the centre of the mezzanine.

Your Comments

  1. Steve Roberts |

    Dear Sir,

    I understand that there will be an admission price in which to gain entry to the gallery when it reopens. Will residents be able to use their YorkCard?

    I thank you in advance regarding this matter and look forward in hearing for you in due course.

    Yours sincerely


    1. Mike Linstead |

      Hello Steve

      Thank you for your enquiry. There has been no decisions made as yet regarding the YorkCard. Please keep visiting our website for the latest news and developments relating to the York Art Gallery refurbishment.

      Many thanks,
      Mike Linstead
      E-Communications Co-ordinator

  2. Ruth |


    To attend the opening on August 1st, do I need to buy a pre paid ticket or turn up and queue on the day?


    1. Mike Linstead |

      Hi Ruth

      Thanks for your enquiry. You can turn up on the day of the Art Gallery reopening and queue for a ticket but we are expecting very long queues. Alternatively you can buy a YMT Card in advance which allows queue jump on the day and also unlimited access to York Art Gallery, York Castle Museum and the Yorkshire Museum for a full year. Please visit http://www.yorkmuseumstrust.org.uk/ymtcard to find out more.

      Many thanks,
      Mike Linstead
      Acting Marketing Manager

  3. anne nicholls |

    why no mention of David Lloyd Jones, best thower ever and local too
    from ex-potter