Whitworth Art Gallery

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Whitworth Art Gallery
Whitworth Gallery.JPG
General information
Town or city Manchester
Country United Kingdom
Coordinates 53°27′37″N 2°13′46″W / 53.460278°N 2.229444°W / 53.460278; -2.229444
Construction started 1894
Completed 1908
Client The Whitworth Institute and Park
Design and construction
Architect J. and J. W. Beaumont

The Whitworth Art Gallery is an art gallery in Manchester, England, containing about 55,000 items in its collection. The museum is located south of the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester, in Whitworth Park.


It was founded by Robert Darbishire with a donation from Sir Joseph Whitworth in 1889, as The Whitworth Institute and Park. The first building was completed in 1908.[1] In 1958 the gallery became part of the Victoria University of Manchester.[2]

In October 1995 a Mezzanine Court in the centre of the building was opened. This new gallery, designed chiefly for the display of sculpture, won a RIBA regional award.[3] In 2010 the art gallery received 172,000 visitors, making it one of Greater Manchester's ten most-visited tourist attractions.[4]

The Gallery is building a new extension, which will open on 14 February 2015 and will double the gallery's public space. An architectural competition was launched in 2008 and funding was secured in February 2011.[5][6] The new extension will provide more space for displaying the 55,000 items in the gallery's collection and link the building to Whitworth Park.[7]


The Whitworth has notable collections of watercolours, sculptures, wallpapers and textiles. The gallery focuses on modern artists, and the art collections include works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ford Madox Brown, Eduardo Paolozzi, Francis Bacon, William Blake, David Hockney, L. S. Lowry, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh and Pablo Picasso, and a fine collection of works by J. M. W. Turner. One of its most famous works is the marble sculpture Genesis (1929–31) by Sir Jacob Epstein.

2003 theft[edit]

On Saturday 26 April 2003, three paintings — Van Gogh's The Fortification of Paris with Houses, Picasso's Poverty and Gauguin's Tahitian Landscape – were stolen from the gallery.[8][9] They were later found rolled up in a nearby public toilet and were subsequently put back on display.[10]



  1. ^ Edward Morris (2001), Public Art Collections in North-West England: A History and GuideAisbn= 0-85323-527-9, Liverpool University Press 
  2. ^ "A Short History of The Whitworth Art Gallery". Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  3. ^ "Launch of Architecture Week North West: 16– 25 June" (doc). Arts Council / Architecture Week. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 18 June 2008. [dead link]
  4. ^ Brooks-Pollock, Tom (30 November 2011). "Lowry gallery and theatre is most popular tourist attraction in Greater Manchester". Manchester Evening News. menmedia.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "The Whitworth Art Gallery’s new designs". Manchester Confidential. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  6. ^ "Whitworth Art Gallery gets £8m to double public space". BBC News. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  7. ^ "The Tales of One City". artsindustry.co.uk. 17 June 2011. 
  8. ^ BBC News (28 April 2003). "Art masterpieces stolen in raid". Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Judith Moritz (28 April 2003). BBC News 24 (ram). BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2008. 
  10. ^ BBC News (28 April 2003). "Stolen paintings can be repaired". Retrieved 10 March 2008. 

External links[edit]