The Hatton stages a highly-regarded programme of historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Over recent years this programme has included major historical monographs, diverse partnership projects and exciting new commissions from leading contemporary artists. On permanent display is Kurt Schwitters’ Merzbarn, considered by many to be one of the seminal artworks of the twentieth century.
The Hatton’s permanent collection comprises over 3,500 works, ranging from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, and includes works in painting, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. Artists represented in the collection include such diverse and important artists as Francis Bacon, Walter Sickert, Tiburzio Passarotti, John Martin, Patrick Heron, William Roberts, Richard Ansdell, Richard Hamilton and John Graham Lough.
The Hatton Gallery also runs an impressive learning programme involving schools, individuals and community groups. The programme engages participants through a variety of drop-in activities, formal workshops and long-term partnership projects.
The Hatton Gallery was founded in 1925 in honour of Professor Richard George Hatton, professor of what was then the King Edward VII School of Art, Armstrong College, Durham University. Following its formal constitution, the Hatton maintained its relationship with the School of Art, which subsequently became the Department of Fine Art, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The permanent collection had its origins in a small collection of 19th Century art works which were housed in the old School of Art; it included Portrait of Cozens Way, by Alphonse Legros. In 1919 the Charlton Bequest, made by Charles Frederick Charlton, expanded the collection considerably. This consisted of watercolours, drawings, prints and oil paintings made by the mid Victorian artist, John Charlton, his son, Hugh Charlton and the turn of the century watercolourist, William Henry Charlton. In the 1920s, these works were passed on to the Hatton, and were complemented by donations, from Professor Hatton, of Indian Miniatures and Burgkmair's Triumphal Procession.
The Hatton Gallery is part of the Great North Museum, which can be found on the site of the former Hancock Museum. The Great North Museum combines the designated natural history collections from the former Hancock Museum with some of the country's finest Greek and Etruscan objects from the former Shefton Museum and the significant prehistoric, Roman and Anglo-Saxon collections of the former Museum of Antiquities with the magnificent fine and decorative arts from the Hatton. Find out more.
History of the Hatton
Between the 1940s and 60s, under the guidance of a distinguished series of professors such as Lawrence Gowing, and art historians such as Ralph Holland, the Fine Art Department acquired paintings ranging from the Renaissance to Modern European works, which form the core of the collection today.
From the 1950s to 80s, a large body of contemporary British work was donated by the Contemporary Art Society, and in addition, several important bequests were made, including the Bosanquet Collection of European Textiles (dating from the 18th to 20th Century), and the Hall bequest of Baxter and Victorian Prints. In 1965, perhaps the most important donation to the Gallery, of the internationally renowned Elterwater Merzbarn by Kurt Schwitters, came from Harry Pierce, and in 1984 Fred and Diana Uhlman donated their collection of West African Sculpture.
A very generous personal gift from the late Dame Catherine Cookson in the 1990s and continued support from arts funds and the Friends of the Hatton, has ensured that the Gallery will continue to expand its collection, develop its education programme and provide exciting, innovative, high quality exhibitions in the future.