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


The Romantic Thread in British Art

The Romantic Thread in British Art

  • 5 February — 4 June 2016 *on now

This exhibition has been drawn from Southampton’s outstanding collection of fine art and enhanced by important loans. It encompasses paintings, prints and drawings from the late eighteenth century to the present day and illustrates successive Romantic movements, a strong strand in British art history, that have emerged at times of anxiety and troubled world events. These include the high Romantic era of the early nineteenth century, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Pastoral Etchers, Neo-Romantics and environmentally engaged contemporaries.

Artists represented in this exhibition include William Holman Hunt, JMW Turner, Paul Nash, John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Keith Vaughan and Christopher Le Brun.

Animals in Art

Beasts or Best Friends: Animals in Art

  • 2 April — 14 September 2016 *on now

Adored as pets, worshipped as gods, exploited for food and hunted for sport. Beasts or Best Friends? Animals in Art asks its audience to consider whether humans really are animals’ best friend. Visitors will be able to judge for themselves as they explore how the dynamic relationship between humankind and the animal world is depicted in art.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Southampton City Art Gallery and Russell-Cotes, Bournemouth and draws upon the wealth of animal related art held within both collections, including work by some of the most famous animal painters in their day: James Ward, Edwin Landseer, Alfred Munnings and Lucy Kemp-Welch. The exhibition will also feature work by 20th century artists Barry Flanagan, Henry Moore and Maggi Hambling.

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.
Art History Study Days

Art History Study Days

  • 20 February — 18 June 2016 *on now

Art Historian Jennie Spiers and Artist Abi Kremer will be leading our bi-monthly Art History Study Days, which include looking at artworks in the Gallery as well as refreshments. Study days are open to those who are new to the art world and anyone already familiar to it.

20 Feb – Weaving the Romantic Thread
16 April – Animals in Art
18 June – British Modern Art


£28 (£26 conc) Please pre-book to attend by calling 02380834536.

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.