Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Founded in 1910, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery is currently closed for the development of the Plymouth History Centre.
This ground breaking venue will see the Museum, Central Library and St Luke's Church buildings transformed into a brand new cultural and heritage centre with galleries, exhibitions, events, food, drink, retail and research facilities.
The History Centre is set to open in spring 2020 as part of Plymouth's commemorations for Mayflower 400 - the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims setting sail aboard the Mayflower for the New World.
We are currently closed for the development of the Plymouth History Centre.
While construction work is taking place we are running a 'Museum On Tour' programme with exhibitions, events and community projects in a range of locations.
We are currently closed for development and due to re-open in spring 2020.
The Cottonian collection at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Designated Cottonian Collection was bequeathed to the city of Plymouth by William Cotton (1794 -1863) from whom it takes its name, but the collection was largely assembled during the 18th century by Charles Rogers (1711 - 1784). His connoisseurship, combined with an extensive network of contacts in the art world, resulted in a collection of some 20,000 prints, drawings and paintings, regarded by his contemporaries as one of the finest in England. A 30-day sale in 1799 reduced the collection by two thirds but, nevertheless, the collection inherited by Plymouth is of outstanding quality and provides rare insights into the history of printmaking.
The Cottonian Collection gallery features paintings by Reynolds, Kaufmann, Ruysdael, Laroon etc; works on paper by Altdorfer, Watteau, Guercino etc; furniture, figurines and prints.
Permanent galleries showcase items from World Cultures, Ancient Egypt, archaeology, maritime and local history, Natural History and Fine and Decorative Art collections.
World Cultures, Social History, Photography, Personalities, Natural Sciences, Maritime, Land Transport, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology, Weapons and War
Key artists and exhibits
- Joshua Reynolds - various
- A Kaufmann - Beauty Yielded Unto Love...
- E Burne-Jones - Venus Concordia
- Stanhope Forbes - The Fish Sale
- Patrick Heron - Rectilinear Reds & Blues
- Prunella Clough - Waiting
- Beryl Cook - Lockyer St Tavern
- J W Waterhouse - The Hamadryad
- J M W Turner - Kilchurn Castle
- J M W Turner - Plymouth from Mount Edgcumbe
- A Landini - Indecision
- H S Tuke - Taking a Spell
- J Olsson - The Sound...
- Newlyn Paintings
- Camden Town
- Maritime Paintings
- Exhibits may not always be out on permanent display. Please contact the Museum to check before paying us a visit if there is something you specifically wish to see.
- Designated Collection
Museum On Tour: Plymouth From Destruction to Construction
- 6 May — 21 December 2017 *on now
Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm
Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays
Closed Monday 8 May and Friday 19 May due to civic functions
Plymouth suffered greatly during World War II. The docks and naval base made it a major target resulting in the almost total destruction of the city centre and the displacement of tens of thousands of Plymothians.
Amongst this charred and ruined city, a radical new plan was developed to enable its complete redesign and reconstruction. MPs, Councillors and planners sought out the finest architects, designers and artists to create a new city – a modern city – worthy of replacing what had been lost.
The city we see today epitomises the ambition and vision of this post-war planning.
This exhibition includes fascinating objects, images and footage from the collections of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office and the South West Film and Television Archive that explore the themes of destruction and reconstruction.
Visitors of all ages can experience the inside of an Anderson Shelter, dress up in a range of replica clothing and marvel at the stunning 1950s interior of the Council House itself.
- Any age
Our Beryl: Beryl Cook at Home
- 24 June — 9 September 2017 *on now
Beryl Cook (1926-2008) is one of Britain’s best-loved artists. Often referred to as ‘Rubens with jokes’ her work is instantly recognisable and is represented in private and public collections around the world. Although shy, Beryl took a great interest in people. From nightlife of all varieties, to the more innocent pursuits of line dancing and sunbathing on the beach, her paintings reveal a diverse spectrum of human activity – and her strong sense of humour. Co-curated by her family, this exhibition is crammed full of insights into Beryl and her outlook on life. From her very first painting, to the items she painted for her home in Plymouth, to the quirky paintings and objects she made for the people she loved. Beryl’s family and friends were the most important thing in her life, and they are all here with their cats, dogs and tortoises for you to see and enjoy. Beryl’s family have produced a special range of bespoke merchandise for this exhibition, all of which will be available to purchase at the Council House. We also have a great range of events on offer throughout the summer inspired by the exhibition – details of which can be found at www. plymhearts. org/whats-on, , ,
- Any age
The Imaginators are a group of toddlers aged from around 18 months old and upwards, pre-school children, mums, dads, grandparents and carers who meet up on selected Wednesdays throughout the year to explore the Museum and have fun! With a focus on play, exploration and learning, every week is different as we journey around our galleries, objects and paintings.
The children learn to build relationships and try their hand at activities such as painting, singing and making, all the time using their developing skills and their imaginations.
Younger siblings/older babies are welcome too. Sessions run from 10.30-11.30 and are led by one of our Arts Education Officers.
How to obtain
Advance booking is essential so call Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery on 01752 304665 to reserve your place(s).
Wild About Plymouth
Wild About Plymouth is a family-friendly natural history group that is open to anyone in the Plymouth area. It is led by enthusiastic experts from Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth City Council’s Nature Conservation Team and the University of Plymouth, plus other selected partners. We have a range of events on offer between now and summer 2009. See the website for a full calendar of Wild About Plymouth events.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
The Cottonian Collection