Art In Newcastle City Centre, Tyne And Wear
A free art gallery in the centre of Newcastle housing works by Henry Moore, Thomas Bewick, Norman Cornish, Richard Hamilton and Charles Napier Hemy among others.
The Laing Art Gallery was founded in 1901 using funding from the Newcastle businessman Alexander Laing. Laing made his money by selling wine and spirits and bottling beer, so who says nothing good comes from alcohol?
Alexander Laing did not leave any paintings or other art to the Gallery as he was confident “...that by the liberality of the inhabitants [of Newcastle] it would soon be supplied with pictures and statuary for the encouragement and development of British Art”.
He was correct as the Gallery is now home to an internationally important collection of art, ceramics, silver and glassware. You can find works by Thomas Bewick, Henry Moore, Thomas Gainsborough, Augustus John, J.M.W. Turner and many more.
The Gallery is located on New Bridge Street West and was designed by local firm Cackett and Burns Dick (Robert Burns Dick also designed the granite towers of the Tyne Bridge and the Spanish City in Whitley Bay) in the Baroque style with Art Nouveau elements.
The Laing Art Gallery opened in 1904 and is a Grade II listed building which is managed by Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums and sponsored by the Department for Culture Media and Sport. To the front lies another piece of art, “The Blue Carpet” by Thomas Heatherwick, but its best not to get me started on him!
There is a regular programme of rotating exhibitions as well as retaining its main collections, and in the main these are free to visit, although some special exhibitions you will need to pay for. They also hold artist and curator talks and host family events.
On the ground floor of the Gallery, off the beautiful Marble Hall, you can find the café, shop, learning space and special under-fives area as well as a sculpture by Henry Moore and artwork by Turner Prize nominee Paul Noble.
Upstairs is the 18th and 19th century display, which contains work by Paul Gaugin and the pre-Raphaelite masterpiece “Isabella and the Pot of Basil” by William Holman-Hunt. Between September and December 2022 the Laing Art Gallery is due to host the Lindisfarne Gospels and you can book your tickets for this online via the Gallery website.
The Northern Spirit gallery displays outstanding artwork and objects produced locally by big names such as Bewick, Ralph Hedley and Charles Napier Hemy, you can also see examples of Newcastle silver, glass and ceramics such as the world famous Mailing pottery.
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Cross over the main road via the overhead walkway which leads from the car park at Ellison Place, head down Higham Place which will bring you down the side of The Laing Art Gallery to the main entrance off the blue carpet.
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Parking is available nearby on Ellison Place
Contributed by Andrew Gardner
I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.
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