The Swindon Collection of Modern British Art consists of around 600 works of art and 300 studio ceramics, made between 1880 and 2017 by artists who lived and worked in Britain. The art collection includes 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional material, but does not currently include film, large sculpture or installation. SM&AG works with the Art Fund and Contemporary Art Society to continue to acquire modern and contemporary works of art.
There is a small collection of modern sculpture by artists including Michael Craig-Martin, Stephen Tomlin, H Carleton Attwood and Roger Leigh.
This collection includes modern and contemporary oil and acrylic paintings by most major movements in British art. These include:
- St Ives (represented by Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Terry Frost)
- Unit One (John Nash, Edward Wadsworth and Graham Sutherland)
- Bloomsbury Group (Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Duncan Grant)
- Camden Town Group (Sylvia Gosse, Robert Bevan, Spencer Gore)
- The School of London (Leon Kossoff, Howard Hodgkin and David Bomberg)
- Pop Art (Richard Hamilton, Allan Jones and Richard Smith)
- Abstraction (Gillian Ayres, John Hoyland and Roger Hilton)
This collection includes drawings, watercolours and monotypes, including several pre-20th century works by Augustus John, George Clausen and Jules Lessore. It includes a life study sketch and finished wartime drawing by Henry Moore. Other artists represented by works on paper include Gwen John, John Nash, RB Kitaj, Walter Sickert and Edward Bawden.
It includes the Meryl Ainslie Gift, an anonymous gift of fifty works on paper given in tribute to the artist and gallery owner Meryl Ainslie.
There is a growing collection of editioned work, including engravings, lithograph, silkscreen and digital prints. Artists include Cecil Collins, Frank Auerbach, Lucian Freud and Joe Tilson, as well as:
- A group of prints, tiles and a sculpture by Ian Hamilton Finlay
- A large set of wood engravings by members of the Society of Wood Engravers made in response to Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets
- A large group of lithographs by local artist Hubert Cook
The majority of artists in this collection of modern and contemporary studio ceramics, are living and working in Britain and includes works by Lucy Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin and Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie. The collection represents many artists and potteries with a connection to the county of Wiltshire, such as Ivan Martin, Sasha Wardell and Sarah Purvey.
There is the Ron Sloman Gift, a growing gift of contemporary ceramics given in memory of the art dealer Ron Sloman. Recent gifts to this collection include ceramics by Akiko Hirai, Emily Myers and Christine Feiler.
Swindon Museum and Art Gallery also has an extensive collection of art by Swindon artists, showing how the town has changed since the 19th century.