Southampton City Art Gallery

Main hall of gallery
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The Gallery offers something for everyone, whether you're young or old, a lifelong fan or going to a gallery for the first time. Exhibitions and displays range from ancient culture to the cutting-edge and the Gallery is internationally renowned for its impressive art collection, spanning six centuries of European art history.

The City Art Gallery offers a number of public services, including the artlease scheme, gallery library and archives.

This gallery has a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open 10:00–15:00 Monday to Friday, 10:00-17:00 Saturdays. Closed on Sundays.

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

Wheelchair access throughout the Gallery.
Toilets including disabled facilities are situated on the ground floor in the Gallery Foyer.
Baby changing: These are also sited on the ground floor Gallery Foyer.

Southampton City Art Gallery has a Designated Collection of national importance.

Southampton City Council's Designated fine art collections have particular strengths in 20th century British art before 1914 and since 1970. The policy of collecting art within 2 years of its creation has resulted in the acquisition of fine examples of work by many Turner Prizewinners.

The collection's greatest strength is 20th century British Art. The Gallery is now internationally renowned for its impressive collection of contemporary works by British artists. A fine selection of works by the Camden Town Group, and paintings by such highly reputed artists as Sir Stanley Spencer, Matthew Smith and Philip Wilson Steer are brought together. In recent decades collecting activities at Southampton City Art Gallery have more than consolidated the Galleries position amongst the very best regional institutions. In this most recent phase, diversity and well as quality is apparent with sculpture, and photography being more fully recognised as critical areas for consideration. This has been broadened still further as the Gallery has added installation and video works to its holdings.

The Gallery’s collection numbers over 3,500 works and spans six centuries of European art history. The works on display, of both historic and contemporary art, show the breadth and quality of the City’s greatest art treasures. The collection's earliest work is an Italian Renaissance altarpiece by Allegretto Nuzi from the 14th century; also featured is Burne-Jones' Perseus Series (shown in an exquisite wood-paneled room), seventeenth century Dutch landscapes and French Impressionist paintings, overall the quality and variety of works is remarkably high.

British Studio Ceramics: Southampton City Art Gallery has an outstanding collection of the work of studio potters from between the wars, the result of a very generous bequest by the Very Reverend Milner-White, a former Dean of York Minster who was a Southampton native and, during his lifetime, a great collector of stoneware pots. These were created by potters like Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, who worked at St Ives in Cornwall. The stoneware potters were creatively inspired by the newly discovered Chinese stoneware of the Han, T'ang and Sung dynasties. Work from the collection is shown in two specially commissioned cases designed and built by furniture maker Robert Kilvington.

Collection details

Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art

Key artists and exhibits

  • Camden Town Group
  • Sir Stanley Spencer
  • Matthew Smith
  • Philip Wilson Steer
  • Allegretto Nuzi
  • Burne-Jones' Perseus Series
  • British Studio Ceramics
  • Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada
  • Han, T'ang and Sung
  • Robert Kilvington
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Perseus Series

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Baring Room exhibits a complete series of works by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones on the Story of Perseus.

The Perseus series are ten cartoons in gouache for a series of large oil paintings commissioned in 1875 for the London home of the British statesman and arts patron Arthur Balfour (1848-1930). Pre-Raphaelite Burne-Jones worked on the series for ten years, but never completed all the paintings due to ill health.

The Perseus series is based on a number of Greek myths. Essentially it is a heroic tale of knight-errantry and the triumph of good over evil. Perseus, son of the God Zeus is sent to rescue the beautiful Andromeda and kill the Gorgon Medusa. The legend has been popular in art since antiquity. Rubens, Titian and Delacroix all painted aspects of it. Burne-Jones depicts the main episodes to form a coherent and engaging narrative.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Walls: Matt Maber

  • 18 September 2015 — 23 January 2016 *on now

Portsmouth based street photographer, Matthew Maber, has spent a number of years documenting street artists and their work. This new exhibition in the gallery foyer, running alongside Stencilism: A Cut Above, showcases a selection of Matthew's photographs.

Photographing both close friends and internationally renowned artists, he managed to capture meticulous detail, the artist’s paraphernalia, as well as the finished pieces.

“I picked up a small, tactile Fuji X100 digital camera a few years ago and it immediately fired my interest in film photography. I’ve since acquired many film cameras and started many projects including portraits, the everyday ‘quotidian’ street life, my seaside town of Southsea and the local football teams shadow over the local residents.

These photos of street artists and their work have been made over a number of years with a mixture of both film and digital cameras.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Stencilism: A Cut Above

  • 18 September 2015 — 23 January 2016 *on now

As stencil art has become more established, it has moved indoors and as a result, changed the rules from temporary works on the street to permanence in national gallery collections.

Coinciding with Spirit of Place and inspired by Ben Johnson’s hyperrealist paintings, Stencilism: A Cut Above has brought together emerging and established artists from the world of street art that have evolved an almost obsessive eye for detail in their stencils, including international artists Czarnobyl, Otto Schade, Orticanoodles and Stickee.

Accompanying Stencilism: A Cut Above is 'Walls' by Matt Maber in the gallery foyer, a photograph exhibition which documents street artists and their work across the UK.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Spirit of Place - Ben Johnson

  • 18 September 2015 — 23 January 2016 *on now

Ben Johnson is one of the finest painters of structure and light of our time. He relates to an artistic tradition that dates back to the Renaissance and the work of artists such as Piero della Francesca and Vermeer also drawing inspiration from Kandinsky, Tatlin and the Bauhaus. Celebrated especially for his epic and minutely detailed cityscapes, Johnson has recently become interested in exploring the potential for architectural space to evoke the past.

His paintings, prints and drawings are held in public collections throughout the UK including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and Tate and in many museums worldwide. However most of his output has been commissioned for private collections and so has rarely been seen in UK public galleries. This is the artist’s first ever retrospective exhibition to examine his extraordinary career spanning 54 years and a rare opportunity to see many of his works together.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Southampton City Art Gallery
Civic Centre
Commercial Road
SO14 7LP




023 80 832277

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.