The Croydon Art Collection consists of over 2,000 art works which are cared for by the Museum of Croydon at Croydon Clocktower.
The works are representative of a range of media, technique, period and subject matter and have been produced by local amateur artists as well as those with an international reputation. Some of the works are framed, while the majority are unframed / unmounted works.
The collection first developed in the 1890s, when local people donated works for display in the newly built Town Hall, and was added to until the 1960s. A major exhibition of works from the collections was held at Fairfield Halls in 1988. When the Museum Service was first established in the early 1990s, the Croydon Art Collection was transferred to its care and formally 'accessioned' and catalogued in 1993.
From this time the works have been cared for in the Museum stores and exhibited whenever possible. Due to their medium, age and condition, some of the works should only be displayed for relatively short periods of time and preparing the works for display is a time and resource intensive activity. However, the Museum of Croydon is committed to making all of the borough's historic collections accessible to the public and continuously reviews how this can be best achieved within the resources available.
The old Lifetimes gallery (1995 - 2005) had a small exhibition space which was used to exhibit changing displays of work, usually featuring a particular artist or theme. In 2009-10, 'Scene Unseen: unpacking the art of Croydon' used a thematic approach to displaying c. 60 works, ranging from early 18th century landscapes to modern, abstract art. In September 2013, the Museum of Croydon re-opened the Exhibition Gallery on the ground floor of Croydon Clocktower to enable us to again display changing exhibitions featuring items from our collections:
We are committed to displaying c.100 works from the Croydon Art Collection per year in this space and as part of each exhibition we will assess, conserve and catalogue these works and make them available more widely available through our website.
To date we have delivered the following exhibitions:
'Plotting the collection', 11 September 2013 - Saturday 29 March 2014;
'Croydon Connected', 22 April - 19 September 2014;
'Croydon Gets Sketchy', 30 September 2014 - 28 February 2015;
'Art Now...Then', 5 May - 26 September 2015.
Also, as part of our commitment to improving access to our collections, a selection of oil paintings were digitised by the Public Catalogue Foundation and made available online as part of the BBC's Your Paintings project website. View the 363 artworks from the Croydon Art Collection on BBC Your Paintings (this link to an external website opens in a new window).
If you have any queries about the Croydon Art Collection, please contact us. We will be happy to help and arrange, where practicable, for viewings of particular artworks on request.