1864 - ?

Dudley Gallery

The Dudley Gallery was founded in 1864 and held its exhibitions at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, architect Peter Frederick Robinson had designed the space in the then fashionable Egyptian style of architecture and ornamentation. In the mid-nineteenth century the Earl of Dudley used this space to display his important collection of Old Master paintings while he was building his own gallery at Dudley House in Park Lane. The name the Dudley Gallery, derived from this source and began with a series of annual exhibitions of watercolour drawings, the first of which opened on 20 February 1865 which proved an immediate success. Its twenty-six-founder memberís included Henry Moore, Edward John Poynter, and Simeon Solomon. Because of the liberal exhibition policies of the Dudley Gallery in admitting artists that were not yet established, its shows tended to be very heterogeneous and uneven in nature and became the main forum for the younger generation of artists associated with the nascent Aesthetic Movement and it would remain the principal vanguard for this expression of advanced artistic taste until the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877. The gallery continued in this format until 1883, when it came under new management, and became the [New] Dudley Gallery Art Society. Up until this time the Dudley Gallery had no regular membership and was open to both professional and amateur artists. The Dudley Gallery Art Society was founded in 1883 its council members included art critic and writer John Ruskin, and artists Frederick Goodall, William Quiller Orchardson, Walter Paton, George Fripp, Henry Harper, and Walter Severn. The Dudley Museum and Art Gallery opened in 1883 and from slow beginnings now houses over 2000 works including some 250 oil paintings, 750 drawings and watercolours, 450 old engravings and 350 modern original prints.