Cooper Gallery

Cooper Gallery
Church Street
South Yorkshire
S70 2AH




01226 242905


01226 773 594

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A stroll up Market Hill past the Town Hall and opposite St Mary’s Church on Church Street you will find the splendid Cooper Gallery. This light and airy gallery has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and is one of the town centre’s cultural gems.

Besides offering a varied programme of touring contemporary art exhibitions, the Gallery is home to the Cooper Gallery Trustees’ permanent collection and the Craft Showcase offering you the chance to purchase at reasonable prices a fine selection of original and hand-made crafts ranging from ceramics, textiles, cards to jewellery.

Cabinet spokesperson for Development Councillor Bill Denton says ‘The Cooper Gallery is well worth a visit, whether it’s to buy a piece of artwork by local or regionally renowned craft artists; look at the permanent or temporary exhibitions or as a place to meet family and friends in the café over a coffee and cake’.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon to Fri -10.30am to 4.00pm
Sat.- 10.00am to 3.00pm

Closed: Sunday

Admission charges


Additional info

Induction loop also at information point/reception.

The Gallery has a long history. There has been a building on the site since the 1600’s with the present building being bought by Samuel Joshua Cooper in 1912 for the princely sum of £3,300. Samuel was the second son of Samuel Cooper of Park House, Barnsley, a linen manufacturer and colliery owner. As was the norm for second sons, Samuel Cooper travelled extensively in Europe during the mid 19th Century, collecting great works of art along the way by artists such as Corot, Ruskin, Decamps and the seascapes of Isabey. This collection of paintings now forms the heart of the Gallery’s permanent collection.

When Samuel Cooper died in 1913 he arranged for the building to be converted into a Gallery for his personal collection of 275 paintings. The building opened on in 1914 as the Cooper Art Gallery and operated as such until the Second World War when it closed and was used as an annexe to Barnsley Beckett’s hospital. The Gallery finally reopened in 1957 and in 2001 it was extensively refurbished with a new entrance, a café and a modern look that makes it an ideal space for the display of art and crafts. The day to day administration and running of the Gallery is undertaken by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, whilst the permanent collection remains the responsibility of the Cooper Gallery Trustees.

Collection details

Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, World Cultures

Key artists and exhibits

  • The permanent collection of over 600 paintings and drawings contains such gems as JMW Turner, Christopher Nevinson, Paul Nash, Jacob Kramer, Vanessa Bell, Louis Gabriel-Eugene Isabey and John Atkinson Grimshaw, to name but a few.
  • The gallery also has an annual cultural diversity exhibition with a changing focus.
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
print showing mermaid and sea captain embrace

Love and Devotion

  • 17 January — 25 April 2015 *on now

The New Year starts with an air of romance and affection at the Cooper Gallery.

This exhibition takes a selection of the smaller, more intimate paintings and drawings from the fine art collection at the Gallery.

Fluttering hearts, blushing cheeks and scenes of absolute devotion will take the chill out of January and create the perfect inspiration for Valentine’s Day.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


The Kings of England

  • 7 March — 18 April 2015 *on now

"The Kings Of England" is a documentary/portrait photography exhibition by South Yorkshire based photographer Graeme Oxby. The photographs explore the world wide cultural impact of a young man from Memphis who fused country music and blues, shook his hips and became the most photographed man in history.

For most people in Britain, Elvis Presley was a legendary figure who only existed in films, on television and on record. Only once did he set foot on British soil and that was in the dead of night en route from Germany back to the USA.

The “Original” Elvis act was based on African American performers including Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Arthur “Big Boy” Cruddup. Thirty five years after his death, the fascination with Elvis lives on through the legions of impersonators or “Tribute Artists” as they are now known. A worldwide phenomenon, Elvis Tribute Artists, perform regularly in pubs, clubs and theatres up and down the British Isles.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly