Laing Art Gallery - Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Interior view of an art gallery with a wooden floor, red walls and paintings on the wall
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Situated in the centre of Newcastle, the Laing is home to an impressive collection of art and sculpture. Its exhibition programme is renowned for bringing the biggest names in art to the North East and includes historic, modern and contemporary art.

This gallery has a Designated Collection of national importance and its permanent displays feature important 18th and 19th century paintings including dramatic landscapes by John Martin.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday to Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 2 - 5

Closed: Chrismas Day and Boxing Day

Admission charges

Free entry

The Gallery's exceptional permanent collection includes British oil paintings, watercolours, ceramics, silver and glassware. It is of national and international significance and enjoys Designated Status. Highlights include: Isabella and the Pot of Basil by Holman Hunt (1827-1910), Laus Veneris by Burne Jones (1835- 1898), The Breton Shepherdess by Gauguin (1848-1903), The Lovers by Spencer (1891-1959) and an important group of works by John Martin (1789- 1854).

Early 20th century artists represented in the Gallery include Auerbach, Nicholson, Hitchen, Bomberg and Moore as well as a growing contemporary collection. The Laing's watercolours are widely recognised as being of exceptional importance, including work by Paul Sandby, J R Cozens, Thomas Girtin, J M W Turner, David Cox, Samuel Palmer, Edward Lear and J F Lewis. An extensive decorative art collection embraces locally produced glass, pottery and silver. Beilby enameled glass, Newcastle silver, North East pottery, early 19th century creamwares and 19th and 20th earthenwares by Maling pottery are of particular significance.

Not all of these items are on permanent display. Please contact the gallery before making a special visit.

Collection details

World Cultures, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art

Key artists and exhibits

  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Northern Spirit

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Internationally acclaimed art from the Laing Art Gallery’s collection features in this permanent display, including work by 19th Century painter John Martin, engraver and naturalist Thomas Bewick and the Beilby family of glass enamellers.

Suitable for


18th and 19th Century Gallery

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Important Pre-Raphaelite paintings by William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones are on display alongside a group of paintings by Newcastle’s outstanding historical painter John Martin.

The 18th and 19th century collections at the Laing are extensive, including works by nationally and internationally-renowned artists, as well as those of local repute. The Decorative Art collections include outstanding examples of ceramics, silver, and glassware of the period, some of which are displayed here alongside the paintings.

The works on show change regularly to show the impressive range of art in the collection so please contact the gallery if you wish to see a particular piece of work.

Suitable for


So Last Century

  • 24 January — 14 June 2015 *on now

The Laing Art Gallery opened at the dawn of the 20th century. From 1904 onwards, art contemporary to the time was brought together with historical painting, establishing a wide ranging collection. Gathering work from then unknown artists and occasionally more famous names, the Laing has amassed a unique collection which charts the changing face of art over time.

As a new generation of artists embraced the modern age, the twentieth century produced painterly experimentation as part of an evolution of ideas about what art might be. A common feature of many the paintings on display is the influence of modern masters working in France, in particular, Matisse and Picasso. Many English painters travelled to France to explore the new approaches to art-making and as well as stylistically, this inspiration is reflected in the subject and titles of many of the works.

This display showcases extraordinary works from extraordinary artists including William Orpen, Edward Wadsworth and Ben Nicholson. From the realistic, to the abstract and surreal, these artists represent a journey through a century of art.

Suitable for


Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War

  • 7 March — 7 June 2015 *on now

Featuring works by artists including Picasso, Henry Moore, Edward Burra, Wyndham Lewis and John Armstrong, amongst others, this exhibition reveals how a generation of British artists were drawn into the Spanish Civil War. While many went to fight in the war themselves, others created posters campaigning for aid for refugees, or created works that made fierce political statements.

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) was one of the most significant conflicts of the twentieth century. While British literary reactions to the conflict have been much examined, this exhibition from Pallant House is the first to explore the response of British visual artists.

The Spanish Civil War was fought between the Spanish Republic and a rebel Nationalist force, led by General Franco. It united the abstract and realist artists of the time to create a diverse artistic response to the fight against fascism.

One of the most famous works on show will be Picasso’s ‘Weeping Woman’ (1937.) This is on display alongside material detailing the impact in Britain of the artist’s iconic painting, ‘Guernica’, which travelled to the UK in 1938.

The exhibition includes loan works from both public and private collections in a range of media, including painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Suitable for


Modern Masters

  • 14 March — 31 May 2015 *on now

‘Modern Masters’ is a small but exciting exhibition of original prints for sale, brought to the Laing from Balman Gallery, Corbridge. On show will be a wide range of prints by Europe’s top 20th century masters such as Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and Miro.

This exhibition presents a rare opportunity to browse – or purchase - an original print by a Modern Master. Originals by these artists sell for millions. Prices for these original prints start at a few hundred pounds.

Picasso’s works in the show complement our current exhibition, Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War, which contains Picasso’s 'Weeping Woman'. Pablo Picasso was a vitally important, progressive and innovative printmaker and Balman Gallery’s exhibition features an exciting range of his iconic, original prints. The prints on show reflect the breadth and genius of Picasso’s art and many feature iconic Picasso images.

The exhibition will feature Picasso’s prints: linocuts, etchings, hand coloured pochoirs, aquatints and drypoints. Romantic, mystical works by Russian-born artist Marc Chagall will also be displayed - a superb range of lithographs and etchings from many of his series, including the ‘Bible’, ‘Paris’, ‘Fables of Fontaine’ and ‘Jerusalem’ series.Catalan painter Joan Miro drew on his personal universe of symbols, creating a truly original world in the joyous colours of Catalonia. He is also known for his ‘Jazz’ cut-outs, which will feature. Iconic works by French artist Henri Matisse complete the exhibition. Matisse is regarded as one of the great formative figures in 20th-century art, leader of ‘Les Fauves’ movement. We have an eclectic range of Matisse’s distinctive work: subjects include female figures, birds, leaves, seed heads, animals, poems and the circus.

Suitable for


Picture This: Children's Illustrated Classics

  • 20 June — 27 September 2015

This exhibition from the British Library takes a look back at 10 of the most iconic children’s books that have been illustrated and re-illustrated throughout the 20th century.

From beautiful and rare first editions to original artwork by the likes of Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Peggy Fortnum and Lauren Child, the exhibition revisits much loved stories and characters that have been re-illustrated and reinterpreted for different generations of children. The exhibition reveals, through these unique and changing styles and techniques, a new way in which to appreciate some of the most familiar British children’s books.

Featuring at least four illustrated editions or pieces of artwork for each title, the exhibition focuses on 10 classics - Just So Stories, The Iron Man, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Wind in the Willows, Paddington Bear, Peter Pan and Wendy, The Hobbit, The Borrowers, The Secret Garden and The Railway Children, many of which are published by The Folio Society in beautifully illustrated cloth-bound editions.

Suitable for


Full price: £5
Senior citizens: £4.50
Concessions: £4
Family ticket: £10

Children under 12 Free


For Ever Amber

  • 27 June — 19 September 2015

Opening up an extraordinary documentary narrative, this exhibition is the first major account of the AmberSide Collection started by a group of like-minded students at Regent Street Polytechnic in London in 1968. With a resolve to collect documents of working class culture, Amber Collective moved to the North East of England the following year in 1969 and in 1977 opened Side Gallery where it remains today.

In 1982 a Channel 4 franchise enabled Amber to grow its ambitions in filmmaking and 45 years later it’s still producing, commissioning, supporting and collecting. The Amber films and photographs of collective member Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen have been recognised by UNESCO, and, for the first time since its beginnings, this major exhibition at the Laing celebrates the full story.

Photographs by Graham Smith, Chris Killip, Martine Franck, John Davies, Tish Murtha, beginning in the 1970s and continuing through to the present are shown alongside the contemporary international work Side has collected and exhibited. This includes Sander, Doisneau, Weegee, Russell Lee, Susan Meiselas, Eugene Richards and Graciela Iturbide, amongst others. Rooted in documenting the vernacular and cultural life of working class and marginalised communities in North East England, this remarkable archive is a conduit for engaging with international documentary photography and film and socially excluded communities worldwide.

Suitable for


Alysia Anne: Shift 

  • 3 October 2015 — 28 February 2016

Shift is a body of work that contemplates the complexities of loss through photography. Alysia Anne works with the manipulation of imagery, obscuring and shifting light sources, and with photography processing, to explores the many facets of grief and bereavement.

Suitable for


The Arts and Crafts House: Then and Now

  • 10 October 2015 — 31 January 2016

Devised as a series of encounters between historic and contemporary works, this exhibition traces the origins and legacy of the Arts and Crafts Movement and its fascination with the creation of the home. Through the work and ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris, the exhibition will explore how subsequent generations of designers created new ways of living and working in an era of collaborative design and experimentation.

The exhibition will also look at the link between house and garden and how nature became a primary source of inspiration for designers. Presenting richly diverse media including furniture, textiles, paintings, ceramics, wallpaper, books and photography, the show will bring together objects from important Arts and Crafts collections and houses.

Suitable for



  • 24 October 2015 — 30 September 2016

Bruce McLean’s ‘Towards a Performance’, drawn by the artist’s finger into bright paint, is one of the more surprising pictures in this exhibition of drawings from the Laing’s collection. Bold charcoal compositions by David Bomberg and Sheila Fell feature alongside pastels and crayon drawings by Duncan Grant and Julia How. Fine drawings in pencil or ink range over 300 years and include subjects by Thomas Rowlandson, Edward Burne-Jones, Charles Napier Hemy, Edward Bawden and Stanley Spencer.

Suitable for


John Dobson & John Wilson Carmichael: An Artistic Partnership

  • 11 December — 28 June 2015

John Dobson (1787-1865) was the North East’s most outstanding 19th century architect. Buildings he designed can be found across Newcastle and Northumbria. During the 1830s he worked closely with Richard Grainger on the redevelopment of Newcastle city centre.

John Wilson Carmichael (1799-1868) was a talented landscape artist and the North East’s leading marine painter. He became renowned for the skill and accuracy of his images of ships and boats.

Both highly successful, these two artists were also close friends, and developed an extraordinary working relationship. They often worked collaboratively on projects. Dobson produced perspective views of his building designs, and Carmichael added colouring and details such as figures to bring the views to life.

This exhibition explores their work as individuals as well as their collaborative projects. Drawing on the Laing Art Gallery collections, it includes country house projects, Richard Grainger’s redevelopment of Newcastle city centre, and early designs for Central Station.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

ARTventure Backpacks

  • 16 May 2013 — 5 April 2016 *on now

Borrow a backpack and embark on an ARTventure in the gallery. Our backpacks are full of exciting hands-on activities, to help you explore the galleries.

Backpacks are free to borrow and do not need to be booked. They are available every day from the reception desk.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Little Artists

Why not come along and try Laing Art Gallery's new sessions for pre-schoolers? Each week join and make things, sing, listen to a story, have juice and biscuits, play and learn lots about things in the gallery.

How to obtain

There is a charge of 50p per child for each session. Booking is not necessary, just drop in. For more information contact Lucy Smith on 0191 2112104.

Laing Art Gallery - Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums
New Bridge Street
Tyne and Wear


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General enquiries


General enquiries

0191 232 7734

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0191 222 0952

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.