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


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.
British Art Show 8

British Art Show 8

  • 9 October 2016 — 15 January 2017 *on now

British Art Show is a national touring exhibition that provides a vital overview of some of the most exciting contemporary art produced in the UK. Organised by Hayward Touring at Southbank Centre, London, and taking place every five years, it introduces a broad public to a new generation of artists. After opening in Leeds Art Gallery in October 2015, British Art Show 8 will tour to multiple venues across Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton over the course of 15 months, presented in Southampton at John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery. This will be the third time Southampton has hosted this prestigious show, the last time being in 2000 with British Art Show 5.

Curated by Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, British Art Show 8 features the work of 42 artists who have made a significant contribution to art in this country over the past five years. The result of the curators’ research across the UK and beyond is a wide-ranging exhibition that encompasses sculpture, film, video-installation, photography, painting, performance and design. Twenty-six of the artists have created new works especially for the exhibition, making this the most ambitious British Art Show to date.

A central concern of British Art Show 8 is the changing role and status of the object at a time of increasing convergence between the real and the virtual. In response to this condition artists have developed new ways of thinking about, and approaching, materiality. While some revisit traditional craft-based skills or make use of industrial techniques, others use data as a starting point for their work, or investigate the material conditions of our digital existence. Within the exhibition ordinary objects – a car, a hard drive or an egg – are considered as archaeological finds or narrative devices. Operating within a complex web of relationships, these objects reveal new ways of being, thinking and acting in the world.

The exhibition will launch on 8 October 2016, and then will open to the public from 9 October - 15 January 2017. During British Art Show 8, our opening hours will be extended, with the gallery open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm* thanks to support from Hampshire Cultural Trust.

Artists: Åbäke, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Caroline Achaintre, John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison, Aaron Angell, Pablo Bronstein, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Andrea Büttner, Alexandre da Cunha, Nicolas Deshayes, Benedict Drew, Simon Fujiwara, Martino Gamper, Ryan Gander, Melanie Gilligan, Anthea Hamilton, Will Holder, Alan Kane, Mikhail Karikis, Linder, Rachel Maclean, Ahmet Ögüt (with Liam Gillick, Susan Hiller and Goshka Macuga), Yuri Pattison, Ciara Phillips, Charlotte Prodger, Laure Prouvost, Magali Reus, James Richards, Eileen Simpson and Ben White, Daniel Sinsel, Cally Spooner, Patrick Staff, Imogen Stidworthy, Hayley Tompkins, Jessica Warboys, Stuart Whipps, Bedwyr Williams, Jesse Wine, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Find out more at

*We will be closed from 24 December 2016 - 1 January (inclusive) for Christmas.

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.