The important and substantial collection of some 800 paintings covers a wide variety of national and international schools and periods.
Visit the Art UK website to see the entire permanent collection which was catalogued and published by the Public Catalogue Foundation in partnership with the BBC.
Many of the earlier works were received from several large donations and bequests, such as the Alfred A. de Pass, Hurdle and Cottonian collections. They comprise Italian, French, Dutch and English paintings from the 16th to 19th centuries, and include works by Angelica Kauffman, Jacopo da Empoli and Marcus Gheeraerts. The greater
part of the collection is English from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
There is a strong bias towards works by artists associated with Plymouth and the region, from the 18th to 20th centuries, and also a good number of topographical views of Plymouth and its environs from the 17th century to the present day. This comprises a considerable number of marine and related paintings. There are some particular schools of artists that are well represented in the collections.
From the 18th century, there are portraits by James Northcote, John and Edward Opie, and of course, Sir Joshua Reynolds including a series of family portraits in the Cottonian Collection. Also of the 18th and 19th centuries is a group of paintings, largely portraits and history paintings, by such Plymouth artists as B.R. Haydon, S. Hart etc.
Many of these artists featured in our ‘In the Frame’ exhibition (2015-2016) and you can now search some of the portrait collection online.
Newlyn School of Artists
There are some 20 to 30 paintings and watercolours by members of this group of artists, and include works by Stanhope A. Forbes, J. Noble Barlow, Norman Garstin, Walter Langley, Henry Tuke and R.H. Carter.
Westcountry Artists of the 20th century
The gallery is fortunate to have a strong representation of many of the artists residing in St Ives and elsewhere in the region. Many have been included in exhibition catalogues and monographs documenting the school of artists, and include Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron.
Camden Town Group
There are a collection of 20 to 30 paintings and drawings by leading members of this group and their contemporaries, including works by Ginner, Gore, Gilman, Bevan, Pissaro and Drummond.