Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Image of Russell-Cotes Art GAllery & Museum Exterior
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This Grade II* seaside villa is the former home of Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes, who designed it to house their art collection and objects from their world travels. It was gifted to the borough in 1908 and opened as a museum in 1922.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery, Historic house or home

Opening hours

Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 10am - 5pm

Closed: Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Admission charges

Charges Apply
Adult £6 (gift aid)
Child £4 (gift aid)
See website for full price list


  • Museums Association
  • National Art Pass

One of the last Victorian houses built, East Cliff Hall incorporates an eclectic mix of Scottish, Italian and Moorish styles creating a unique atmosphere. The collection includes Victorian art and sculpture; artefacts from the Russell-Cotes' extensive world travels, including a dedicated Japanese gallery; a gallery devoted to the actor Henry Irving; an Edwin Longsden Long gallery; and changing temporary exhibitions showcasing modern art and items from the museum's store. Items not on display can be viewed by prior arrangement.

Collection details

Architecture, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Maritime, Personalities, Social History, World Cultures, Performing Arts

Key artists and exhibits

  • Japanese Art
  • Henry Irving
  • Rossetti
  • Venus Verticordia
  • Victorian Art
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Wessex 5 Spotlight Loans

  • 1 January — 30 September 2017 *on now

Five leading museums of the Wessex Museums Partnership are showcasing artefacts from their own outstanding collections to the other partner museums.

Five leading museums of the Wessex Museums Partnership Dorset County Museum, Poole Museum, Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, The Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum are sharing the story of Wessex in the wider world by showcasing an artefact from their own outstanding collections to the other partner museums.

Wessex has a rich history connecting the region to countries around the world. Our links to Europe and Asia date back to prehistory. An eventful maritime history connects our ports to North America and beyond. Local collectors brought back to Wessex exotic treasures from their journeys of discovery around the world. The story of Wessex is a truly global one.


Facets: 30 Glass Bowls

  • 9 May — 1 September 2017 *on now

Facets is an exhibition of 30 glass bowls created by sculptor Rebecca Newnham in direct response to the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum and its collection. The bowls will be displayed on the existing plate racks of the Dining Room, the Morning Room and the Conservatory. The individual pieces are unique and together form a cohesive body of work.

The project considers the historical origins of the house and of the owners Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes’ role in the early establishment of Bournemouth. The bowls seek to reflect on the rich architectural and interior detail of the house and the myriad paintings and exotic artefacts collected by the couple during their travels across the world.

The colour palette for the work, of gold, yellow and amber glass stain, deep ruby and black, encapsulates Victorian opulence and craftsmanship. Rebecca employs the same method of firing nitrates into the glass to recreate the amber and yellow evident in the stained glass throughout the museum, and uses ruby glass created by the synthesis of gold, matching the technique used for the ruby glass of the Conservatory windows.

There are 30 designs, representing 30 days of engagement with the museum, its objects and architectural details. Each bowl is a shallow section of spherical glass mosaic or fused and imploded glass. These different processes are characteristic of Rebecca’s work, and she creates her own production methods in glass, experimenting both with materials and with the form of the finished objects.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Refracted: Collection Highlights

  • 13 May — 8 September 2017 *on now

To commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England, we are launching the exhibition, Refracted: Collection Highlights, which has been co-curated with members of the local LGBT+ community. The project, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, seeks to mark this significant change in social and cultural attitudes and to celebrate and work with an important section of Bournemouth’s community.

Taking inspiration from the Rainbow Flag, which has been used since the 1970s to symbolise the LGBT+ community, the volunteer curators at the Russell-Cotes have selected paintings and objects from the collection to reflect the colours of the rainbow flag and their associated themes: sexuality, (pink), life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), magic and art, (turquoise), harmony (blue) and spirit (purple/violet). Through these themes, they have refracted the Russell-Cotes Museum’s extraordinary and diverse collection and have created a stunning exhibition which will appeal to all.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum
East Cliff Promenade




01202 451858

24 hour answer-phone

01202 451800


01202 451851

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.