Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
- West Midlands
- | 0121 303 1966
- | www.bmag.org.uk
- Free entry to exhibitions with National Art Pass.
- View venue & entry details
Housed in a Grade II* listed building, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is situated in the city's bustling commercial centre.
The museum first opened in 1885 and includes more than 40 galleries, covering fine art, costume and jewellery, social history, archaeology and ethnography.
The art gallery is famous for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings, which are part of the largest public Pre-Raphaelite collection in the world. Many of the works were amassed when the gallery first opened. At the time, local industrialists and politicians were keen to help boost the city's collections with works by living artists.
You can also see art and objects spanning centuries of European and World history and culture, including artefacts from Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
The gallery's unrivalled Pre-Raphaelite collection includes more than 2,000 works, ranging from oil paintings, tapestries, drawings, sketchbooks, stained glass and related cartoons, to prints, illustrated books, watercolours, ceramics, and archive material.
You can see works from the founder members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood " John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt " as well as the slightly older Ford Madox Brown and the Birmingham-born Edward Burne-Jones.
Highlights include The Long Engagement by Arthur Hughes (1859), The Annunciation by Edward Burne-Jones (1857 " 1861), Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1882), The Blind Girl by John Everett Millais and Holman Hunt's The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple.
Roman coins, antique earthenware, ancient figurines and jewellery, African masks, carvings and musical instruments are all on display within the vast Antiquities and Ethnography collections. The Applied Art and Social History collections reflect Birmingham's industrial heritage with key objects by leading makers from the West Midlands, as well as important pieces from around the world.
Myriad topographical views of the city are also on show. From oil paintings to pencil drawings, engravings and lithographs, these scenes show the changing face of a city that was once at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.
Art Funded works
In 2010, the Art Fund spearheaded a £3.3m campaign to save the glittering Staffordshire Hoard for the West Midlands. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is now the joint owner of this unparalleled collection of objects dating from the 6th to 8th centuries. Comprising more than 1,500 pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver, many encrusted with precious stones, the extraordinary treasure was unearthed in a field in Staffordshire in 2009. To date, archaeologists are still trying to discover the origins of the treasure and why it was buried – although the expensive materials and craftsmanship suggest it was once owned by royalty. The other half of the collection is owned by the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.
Giovanni Bellini's Madonna enthroned with SS Peter and Mark and a Donor, 1505 is a key work from the Renaissance. It was acquired with our help in 1977 after a three-month fundraising campaign.
The bold colours and flattened perspective in Red and White Still Life (1964) are characteristic of Patrick Caulfield's stylised approach to painting, which he began developing in the early 1960s. This work was bought with our help in 1998.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the New Art Gallery Walsall were awarded £1 million to spend on international contemporary art through the Art Fund International funding scheme. Discover how works of art from across the globe came to the West Midlands with our interactive map.
There is no entrance charge, though donations are accepted to assist in the upkeep of the museum. Some exhibitions and events may charge.
The museum's elegant, high-ceilinged Edwardian Tea Room is the ideal place to take a break during your visit. Serving hot and cold lunches, cream teas and light snacks, it is also a popular venue in its own right.