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. A modern extension has since been added following a Heritage Lottery Fund refurbishment providing temporary gallery space as well as a shop and cafe.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery, Historic house or home

Opening hours

Tue-Sun 1000-1700
Bank Holiday Mon 1000-1700

Closed: Mon
Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Admission charges

Charges Apply
Adult £6 (gift aid)
Child £4 (gift aid)


  • Museums Association

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.

Rituals and Revelry: Masks and Puppets from Around the World

  • 10 April — 8 October 2016 *on now

Puppets have always had a mystery and a magic. Rituals and Revelry captures that magic and makes it accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Puppets and masks are at the root of performing arts and are used in nearly all cultures throughout the world. Through the means of transformation and revelation they have a role in religion and ritual as well as in revelry and satire. From Spitting Image to bunraku puppets and from the Vendetta mask to Noh plays, this exhibition which comes from The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, will surprise and delight all ages and include spectacular work from our own collections.

Masks, puppets and performing objects are one of the most ancient and popular forms of theatre. They can perhaps be best understood as a point of synthesis for all the arts, a unique combination of visual art, design, craft,dance, music, opera and drama. It is a vibrant living, breathing, subversive art form which plays a major role in modern theatre; and has developed unique applications into film, television and the media.. Read more…

Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre, Scotland’s primary venue, gallery, training centre and resource in this field has compiled a touring exhibition of masks and puppets. This exhibition chronicles the history of the world’s oldest theatrical tradition, and also displays its contemporary relevance.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum
East Cliff




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.