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