Housed in an impressive Edwardian building, the museum explores the history of Bury and the surrounding area.
The gallery was specially built to house the Wrigley Collection – over two hundred oil paintings, watercolours, prints and ceramics that had been acquired by local paper manufacturer Thomas Wrigley. His three children gave them to the town in 1897 to be enjoyed by all.
As well as works by Turner, Constable and Landseer which were included in the original donation, successive curators have added to Wrigley's historic collection. The gallery houses 20th century paintings by Victor Pasmore and Edward Burra, and a growing number of pieces by contemporary artists. A new Sculpture Centre showcasing global contemporary work opened in 2014.
Turner's Calais Sands is probably the finest and most important picture in the entire collection at Bury. After it was shown at the Royal Academy in 1830 a critic for the Morning Chronicle wrote: 'It is literally nothing in labour but extraordinary in art'. The artist's father died shortly before this picture was painted, and the dimming sunset has been thought to symbolise his passing.