The Higgins Bedford

The Higgins Bedford
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The Higgins Bedford reopened in June 2013 following a major redevelopment. The Higgins showcases wonderful and varied collections including the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden.

The watercolour collection includes works by Turner, Constable, Cotman and Blake, whilst the print collection includes works by Picasso, Goya, Munch and Bonnard alongside many others. The Higgins explores the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area. Using collections of archaeology, social history and ethnography, The Higgins shows how the town of Bedford has developed.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

The Higgins Bedford is Free to visit.
Opening Hours are: Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday: 2- 5pm
Closed Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day, Boxing day and new Year's Day

Admission charges

Adults Free
Childen Free

Discounts

  • National Art Pass
Getting there

By Road: If arriving from the north or south there are excellent links to Bedford from the M1, A1 and A6. If travelling from the west or east, the A421 and A428 provide easy access to the town. There is an excellent Park & Ride facility on the A6 at Elstow, south of Bedford, which is also convenient for visitors arriving on the A421 from the M1 and A1.

There are 4 car parking spaces at the entrance of the art gallery and museum for visitors with Accessible Parking Permits or Blue Badges.

The main routes to Bedford are:

From the M1 (North and South) : exit at Junction 13 and follow the A421 towards Bedford, and follow the signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (North) : exit at the Black Cat roundabout and follow the A428 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (South) : exit at the Sandy roundabout and follow the A603 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre

The nearest public car park is at Lurke Street, just 5 minutes walk from The Higgins Bedford. If attending evening functions the nearest 24 hour, open air, public car parks are St Peter’s Street and Riverside Square, both about 10 minutes walk.

By Train: The Higgins Bedford is 0.9 miles from Bedford Midland Railway Station. Follow the sign posted route to the Town Centre and Art Gallery & Museum, about 20 minutes walk. Alternatively there are taxis readily available at the railway station.

There are frequent services from London (St Pancras International) with trains arriving and departing every 30 minutes. The First Capital Connect service runs from Brighton, Gatwick Airport, London stations, St Albans and Luton through to Bedford. The East Midlands Trains service runs from Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Kettering and Wellingborough to Bedford, and on to St Pancras International.

Links

The Higgins Bedford includes the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden. The watercolour collection
features works by British artists including Turner, Constable, Moore and Hepworth, whilst the print collection features works by international artists including Picasso, Goya and Warhol, alongside many others.

The Higgins Bedford celebrates the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area.
Displays in Settlement, Somewhere in England and The Collectors explore how Bedford has developed over time and the town’s relationship with the wider
world, while Great Bedfordians features the stories of famous and lesser-known Bedfordians both past and present.

Collection details

Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Archaeology, Coins and Medals, Design, Industry, Toys and Hobbies, Social History, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • Edward Bawden
  • William Burges
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
alt="Edward Bawden in his studio, image commissioned by Braintree & Witham Times."

Edward Bawden and His Studio

  • 11 February 2017 — 28 January 2018 *on now

During the eight years prior to his death in 1989, the renowned watercolourist, printmaker, illustrator, designer and former Official War Artist Edward Bawden donated the contents of his studio to Bedford. Through letters, photographs and most importantly his work, this exhibition focuses on Bawden’s life in the studio, from the techniques he used to the lino he cut. It charts the development of his career chronologically, looking closely at Bawden's inspirations, obsessions and recurring themes, and reveals the variety of techniques and mediums that he used. Bawden's playful, humorous style combined with his diligent approach will delight newcomers as well as existing fans seeking a more personal insight into the man and his work. Entry is free.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/

alt="A Walk in the Woods artwork"

A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art

  • 30 September 2017 — 25 February 2018

The Higgins Bedford pays homage to the tree this autumn with an exhibition celebrating the role of trees and woodland in British landscape painting. Forty watercolours, drawings and prints from the past two centuries are on show, including works by John Constable, John Sell Cotman, Edward Lear, Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud. Drawn from the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection, the exhibition highlights the importance and enduring popularity of trees in art, and explores various themes which have evolved in artists' depictions of nature: magical and dreaming trees, trees in the countryside, the pleasures of the woods and the lure of the exotic. The exhibition coincides with the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, signed by Henry III in 1217 to enable people to access and use the Royal Forests. Entry is free.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/

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.

Art and Design

http://www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk/learning/formal_learning.aspx

A wide range of sessions are available using the collections in the Gallery as inspiration for practical work.

We offer museum-led sessions in a range of practical art and design activities, especially print-making.

We are happy to tailor session to the needs of your particular group. Contact us to discuss options for your visit.

How to obtain

Contact: Learning & Access
T: 01234 718627
E: educationservice@bedford.gov.uk

Visit the Formal Learning pages on our website:

Describing Toys

Getting there

By Road: If arriving from the north or south there are excellent links to Bedford from the M1, A1 and A6. If travelling from the west or east, the A421 and A428 provide easy access to the town. There is an excellent Park & Ride facility on the A6 at Elstow, south of Bedford, which is also convenient for visitors arriving on the A421 from the M1 and A1.

There are 4 car parking spaces at the entrance of the art gallery and museum for visitors with Accessible Parking Permits or Blue Badges.

The main routes to Bedford are:

From the M1 (North and South) : exit at Junction 13 and follow the A421 towards Bedford, and follow the signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (North) : exit at the Black Cat roundabout and follow the A428 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre
From the A1 (South) : exit at the Sandy roundabout and follow the A603 to Bedford, and then signs to the Town Centre

The nearest public car park is at Lurke Street, just 5 minutes walk from The Higgins Bedford. If attending evening functions the nearest 24 hour, open air, public car parks are St Peter’s Street and Riverside Square, both about 10 minutes walk.

By Train: The Higgins Bedford is 0.9 miles from Bedford Midland Railway Station. Follow the sign posted route to the Town Centre and Art Gallery & Museum, about 20 minutes walk. Alternatively there are taxis readily available at the railway station.

There are frequent services from London (St Pancras International) with trains arriving and departing every 30 minutes. The First Capital Connect service runs from Brighton, Gatwick Airport, London stations, St Albans and Luton through to Bedford. The East Midlands Trains service runs from Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Kettering and Wellingborough to Bedford, and on to St Pancras International.

The Higgins Bedford
Castle Lane
Bedford
Bedfordshire
MK40 3XD
England

Website

E-mail

Contact us

thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk

Telephone

The Higgins Bedford

01234 718618

Education Service

01234 718627

Fax

Main Gallery

01234 718619

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.
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