A select exhibition curated from the Arts Council Collection.

Step inside Torre Abbey this summer and be surrounded by renowned artists and radical works depicting alter egos, rebellion, gender, feminism, death and legend.

This is not your typical day out in South Devon.

The Face2Face exhibition will for the first time bring together and quite literally ‘face off’ 33 works from 20 award winning, contemporary British artists in the Arts Council Collection and rare, visionary works from Pre-Raphaelite artists in the Torre Abbey Collection.

Journey through 300 years of portraiture from pencil to paintings, and photography to film; as you follow the art through the historic corridors and intricate spaces of this mesmerizing museum and Ancient Scheduled Monument.


Mark Wallinger, Sarah Lucas, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gillian Wearing, OBE


William Blake, Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt 

Other highlights of a visit include a programme of Face2Face workshops with the Digital Design Agency (a Play Torbay initiative) and drop-in selfie sessions. The summer season at Torre Abbey will also offer open-air cinema, live performances, theatre and the newly launched Family Sundays. Reasons aplenty to plan a visit.

Torre Abbey is a great family day out and inspires creative and curious minds with dressing up, interactive displays, garden trails and other great activities. The museum is one of only a handful of South Devon attractions to offer free entry throughout the year for kids and teens (under 18 years). 



The Artists of St. Ives

A Select exhibition curated from the Arts Council Collection.

Don't miss a unique opportunity to see the acclaimed works of the St Ives Society of artists, on loan from the Arts Council Collection. Featuring artists such as Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Barbara Hepworth, Paul Feiler and Terry Frost, this is a unique chance to see their work in the stunning setting of Torre Abbey Museum.

The St Ives Society of Artists was formed by marine artist George Fagan Bradshaw in 1927. This stunning exhibition features a diverse mix of contemporary visual art, all inspired by the various artist's time in the beautiful seaside town of St. Ives.  

The exhibition is included in the normal admission to the abbey and free to 1196 Club Members.

Torre Abbey Museum exhibition page


Great Artists | Great Teachers

An exhibition selected from the Arts Council Collection.

Great Artists | Great Teachers brings together the work of some of the most significant artists/teachers working across the 20th Century and into the present. Selected as important artists in their own right, each of the artists are recognised as being hugely influential art teachers, helping to shape the direction of art education and inspiring the next generation of artists.

Featured artists:
Anthony Caro, Phyllida Barlow, David Batchelor, Michael Craig-Martin, Richard Hamilton, Lubaina Himid, Janice Kerbel, Rosalind Nashashibi, Wendy Pasmore, Victor Pasmore, Carl Plackman, Bob and Roberta Smith, Jon Thompson and Richard Wentworth.

Great Artists | Great Teachers has been curated in response to the 250th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in Autumn 2018 and takes as its starting point the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, born in Plymouth (1723 –1792), one of the principal founders and first presidents of the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition includes a series of extracts from Reynolds’ Discourses on Art drawn from the city’s permanent collections.

This is a partnership exhibition delivered by The Arts Institute and The Box, Plymouth. 

Dates: Monday 17 September – Saturday 17 November
Opening times: Monday-Friday 10:00-17:00, Saturday 11:00-16:00
Venue: The Levinsky Gallery 
Free admission 


Crossing Lines

An exhibition curated from the Arts Council Collection, National Museum Northern Ireland and artists’ studios.

Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda and the FE McWilliam Gallery & Studio, Banbridge, present a joint exhibition entitled Crossing Lines, which will run concurrently in both galleries from 23/24 November 2018 to 26 January 2019. The exhibition explores ideas of dissent, dissonance, and difference in art and society; embracing change, inspiring hope, and the important role that art and artists have in challenging traditional thinking, provoking reflection, insight and fostering new ideas that often defy the norm.

The work in the exhibition ranges from painting, print and photography to sculpture, video, installation, sound art and performance and is drawn from the Arts Council Collection, the former Arts Council of Northern Ireland collection gifted to the National Museums Northern Ireland in 2012 and artist’s studios. It includes work by well-known, Northern Irish, British and Irish artists including Duncan CampbellStuart BrisleySusan Philipsz, Rita Duffy, Alice Maher, Dermot Seymour, Colin Middleton, Victor Sloan and Joy Gerrard. The diverse range of work in the exhibition considers individual and collective expressions of difference and highlights the important role that art and artists have in challenging traditional thinking, provoking reflection and fostering new ideas that often defy the norm.


Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda - 23 November 2018 ( opening 7.30pm) - 26 January 2019 

F.E. McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge - 24 November 2018 (opening 3pm) - 26 January 2019

Both openings will include a special live performance by artist Nigel Rolfe.


In the moment: the art of wellbeing

An exhibition selected from the Arts Council Collection.

In the moment: the art of wellbeing at Beningbrough Hall explores how art can help relaxation and provide a break from life’s daily worries. Inspired by research that visiting an art gallery is good for your health, the exhibition created in partnership with the Arts Council Collection, features the works of high profile artists such as L.S. Lowry, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Marc Chagall.

The use of sculpture, colour or intricate sketching alongside interactive techniques allows visitors to explore their own personal responses to the art. 

From the translucent and colour-shifting Doryphoros sculpture by Matthew Darbyshire standing tall in the Great Hall, to the optical illusion of colour from Bridget Riley in the Saloon and the engaging and immersive detail of Doing, Thinking, Speaking by Lisa Milroy, the artworks are curated to encourage visitors to explore the ‘five ways to wellbeing’ - to connect, be active, give, keep learning and take notice. 

Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens is open for the main season from Tuesday 3 March until Sunday 1 November 2020, Tuesdays to Sundays plus Mondays in June – August and bank holidays.

Visit their website to learn more about the exhibition.

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Allegories of the Senses

Allegories of the Senses is a Select Exhibition

The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley have worked collaboratively with the Arts Council Collection to create this exhibition focusing on the senses. The works have been chosen along with pieces from the gallery's own collection which replicate or stimulate the five senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.

As part of the exhibition, see rarely seen works by local artists, Malcolm Whittaker and John Kenneth Long which sit alongside masterpieces by Vanessa Bell, Martin Parr, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Marc Quinn. A magnificent three-metre-high textile piece by Caroline Achaintre (Arts Council Collection) creates a breath-taking showstopper.

Accessibility and inclusion has been a really important focus for the exhibition and the display has been carefully co curated by Action for Autism and Asperger’s Barnsley (AfAAB). Through a series of workshops the group studied and debated potential artworks before making their final selection. Their invaluable feedback has given a unique perspective on how the exhibition has been shaped and displayed.

The gallery have had the support from LEGO® who have kindly supplied a brand new concept - LEGO® Braille Bricks for use in the interpretation to help aid visitors with a visual impairment. Each brick in the LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkit retains its iconic form, but unlike a regular LEGO® bricks the studs are arranged to correspond to numbers and letters in the Braille alphabet. Each brick shows the printed version of the symbol or letter, allowing sighted and blind children to play and learn together.

Touch and feel are a huge part of the exhibition and to allow you to enjoy a COVID-19 sensory experience, creative and inspiring activity packs are available to take home.  They will include everything needed to do interesting and fun tasks related to the theme of senses. (Ask at reception to collect a pack.)

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Paintings and Drawings from the Arts Council Collection including David Hockney, Lucian Freud and Paula Rego

Portrayals brings together more than 45 original paintings and drawings by some of the country’s most celebrated twentieth century and contemporary artists, including Barbara Hepworth, L.S. Lowry, and Chris Ofili.

Selected to appeal to people-watchers and art lovers alike, Portrayals focuses on people, and the varied ways they have been depicted by 34 different artists across the last century. The exhibition includes traditional seated portraits alongside more casual scenes of people at work and at leisure – in the barbers, at the beach or heading off to the pub. 

Further highlights from the exhibition include: David Hockney’s Portrait Surrounded by Artistic Devices, Study for ‘Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy’ and We Two Boys Together Clinging; works by three Turner Prize winners – Chris Ofili, Antony Gormley and Howard Hodgkin – as well as a further four Turner Prize nominees; and original drawings and paintings by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.

Tickets will be available to book via Banbury's website here.


Face Value

An exhibition selected from the Arts Council Collection.

Face Value at The Burton at Bideford brings together more than 45 original works by some of the country’s most celebrated twentieth-century and contemporary artists, including David Hockney, Barbara Hepworth, Lucian Freud, L.S. Lowry and Chris Ofili.

Designed to appeal to people-watchers and art lovers alike, Face Value focuses on the varied styles and techniques artists employ to depict the human form. The exhibition features works by 34 different artists working in a variety of media from drawing and painting to collage, sculpture, photography and film.

Face Value documents an age-long obsession with portraiture and asks us to consider how and why images of people have continued to fascinate artists and viewers throughout time. We learn how portraiture is rarely about simply capturing a likeness; portraits are also about place, popular culture and politics. The exhibition includes traditional seated portraits alongside more casual scenes of people at work and at leisure – in the barbers, at the beach or heading off to the pub. It’s not often that we have the opportunity of getting so close to another human being, of studying facial expression and glimpsing into what it means to be human.

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Visit their website to learn more about the exhibtion. 




An Arts Council Collection Borrow Big! exhibition

Leviathan at Amelia Scott is a large-scale triple screen immersive video installation by the artist Kelly Richardson. As part of a collaboration with the Arts Council Collection, through the Borrow Big! scheme, the presentation of Leviathan at The Amelia will be the first time the work has been exhibited since being acquired by the Arts Council Collection in 2015. Leviathan was originally commissioned by Artpace, San Antonio.

The work draws on Richardson's distinct art practice which focusses on ideas around conservation and a careful observation of the effects of humanity on the planet. She films the bald cypress trees, indigenous to Caddo Lake in Uncertain, Texas, and manipulates the footage, creating a series of twisting, snake-like tendrils of yellowish light in the water with an eerie soundtrack replacing the sounds of nature.

Richardson explains, 'I'm trying to create contemplative places which are both beautiful and mesmeric, but at the same time, unsettling.'

Presented as a triptych, the landscape is viewed from a single vantage point, like a painting set in motion. The immersive environment of Leviathan is entirely devoid of people and invites viewers to 'insert themselves into the work' and become its sole protagonists. Richardson's manipulation of the video suggests several foreboding plot lines:  the birth of primordial life, the emergence of a malign aquatic creature or a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Caddo Lake, the setting of Richardson's Leviathan is thought to be the first site in the world for underwater oil drilling and plays a significant role in the shaping of current fossil-fuel debates concerning the global climate crisis. Tunbridge Wells has strong links to conservation, having enshrined the protection of wild plants, animals, and natural habitats in The Tunbridge Wells Improvement Act of 1889. This ground-breaking legislation ensured the protection and stewardship of the extensive commons found locally and the plants and wildlife that dwell and flourish on it.

The staging of Leviathan at The Amelia Scott comes at a significant time historically, in reflection of growing global climate concerns and places Tunbridge Wells once again at the centre of environmental and conservation debates.




Featured work

Leviathan - Kelly Richardson

As Richardson explains, ‘I’m trying to create contemplative places which are both beautiful and mesmeric but at the same time, unsettling.’ Leviathan (2011)

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.