Our galleries display a diverse range of art drawn from the nationally significant permanent collection which spans the medieval period to the present day. The galleries also host an exciting, changing exhibition programme.
The Centre Court displays highlights from the Ferens collection, including Bik van der Pol’s Untitled (Gold), a neon wall work acquired by the Ferens in 2015, and sculpture.
Gallery 1 – Renaissance and Baroque
This gallery showcases Lorenzetti’s small, rare Sienese masterpiece, Christ between Saint Paul and Saint Peter, the only work by this artist in a UK collection. The gold ground panel is the oldest object in our holdings, dating from around 1320. Further European old masters demonstrate the dominance of religious subject matter in Europe during this period.
Gallery 2 – The Netherlands
Frans Hals’ Portrait of a Young Woman (1660s) is the star painting in our strong collection of Netherlandish art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries which echoes Hull’s important historic trading and cultural links. The sheer variety of subject matter represented at Ferens– from still life, landscape and portraiture, to historical and religious subjects – shows how art flourished during the so-called Dutch Golden Age.
Gallery 3 – Eighteenth Century Europe
This gallery focuses on France and Italy as the main artistic centres in eighteenth-century Europe. Works such as Francesco Guardi’s impressive history painting, Sophronia asking the Saracen King Aladine to Release the Christian Prisoners (c. 1745) reveals the impact of a renewed fascination with classical antiquity while Antonio Canaletto’s dramatic early view of Venice demonstrates the popularity of the Grand Tour and is a significant visitor highlight.
Galleries 4, 7 and 8
Temporary Exhibition Galleries
Gallery 5 – Victorian and Edwardian Art
Some of the finest Victorian artists are represented in these galleries, including two works by Lord Frederick Leighton: Farewell (1893) and Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon (c.1869). Other highlights include John Atkinson Grimshaw’s, Princes Dock, Hull, and George Clausen’s, Sunrise in September (1924). The most popular painting of the entire gallery is by the woman animal painter, Rosa Bonheur, whose huge realistic canvas The Lion at Home never fails to impress.
Gallery 6 – Early Twentieth-Century British
This gallery foregrounds the work of significant British artists, many of whom were inspired by the latest development in French art of the period, including the French Impressionists. Works such as Philip Wilson Steer’s fresh and airy Boulogne Sands, Children Shrimping (1891) and Walter Sickert’s Hotel Royal, Dieppe (1899) capture the fleeting effects of light and weather for which they became known. The Scottish Colourists, who worked with bolder colours, are also represented as is Wyndham Lewis by his startling and iconic Self Portrait as a Tyro of 1920/21.
Gallery 9 – Modern and Contemporary
The quality and diversity of the Ferens’ modern and contemporary- paintings, sculpture and photography are highlighted in changing displays. A key strength underpinning the collection as a whole is portraiture. and there are many contrasting examples by artists of diverse practice such as David Hockney and Leon Kossoff, Mark Wallinger and Gillian Wearing.
Gallery 10 – Families and 0 - 5s - ‘Explore Art’
The innovative ‘Explore Art’ gallery is aimed at attracting new audiences to enjoy the Ferens with a focus on 0 - 5 years using interactive exhibits to encourage children and their families to explore line, shape, texture and colour in art. ‘Explore Art’ has been nominated a finalist in the prestigious Sandford Education Awards 2018.
Gallery 11 – A Silent Conversation: Lorenzetti and the Ferens Collection
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund
Since its arrival in January 2017, Lorenzetti’s Christ Between Saints Peter and Paul has been placed centre-stage attracting thousands of visitors and high levels of media interest. At the heart of this small but expressive panel is an emotional connection forged between Christ, Saints Peter and Paul. This exhibition, co-curated by 8 Hull 2017 volunteers, takes this ‘conversation’ as it’s starting point and explores how artists across the centuries use dialogue – and indeed its absence – in their work.
Gallery 12 – Maritime Highlights
This gallery contains highlights from the Ferens’ important and unique collection of maritime painting, including works by Richard Parkes Bonington, John Ward and William Frederick Settle, the latter two representatives of the important nineteenth century Hull School of Marine Painting. The gallery also includes Herbert Draper’s impressive canvas, Ulysses and the Sirens (1909) which is requested on loan by museums and galleries around the world.