Our art collection consists of 8000 works of art and craft ranging from oil paintings to sculpture, with a particular strength in twentieth century British art and tin-glazed pottery. You can see highlights in the Museum’s permanent galleries.
The founding collection is a group of nineteenth century paintings, given by William Isaac Palmer of the world-famous Huntley & Palmers biscuit makers when the Art Gallery opened in 1897. Our oldest paintings are Reading Corporation's Tudor and Stuart portraits, including a striking likeness of Queen Elizabeth I.
Tin-glazed ceramics by Alan Caiger-Smith, who set up the Aldermaston Pottery in 1955, are beautifully displayed in the naturally lit Atrium. The Reading Foundation for Art’s collection is cared for by the Museum and includes works by important modern British artists such as Paul Nash, Mary Fedden, Julian Trevelyan and Terry Frost.
Correspondence with and works by Auguste Rodin are the highlight of the archive of Edwardian sculptor John Tweed who lived at Wargrave. Sculptures by both men can be viewed in the Window Gallery.
Our programme of temporary exhibitions in the Sir John Madejski Art Gallery provides opportunities to see works by artists of national standing such as Stanley and Gilbert Spencer and John Piper, and significant artists who have taught fine art in Reading including Robert Gibbings, Alan Seaby, Jean Spencer and Stephen Buckley.