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The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art is one of the largest privately owned, publicly exhibited art collections in the United Kingdom. It has been put together by media entrepreneur and philanthropist Chris Ingram who, since 2002, has created a collection that includes work by the major British artists of the twentieth century, and also explores the work of emerging artists of the twenty-first century.

Chris is committed to widening public access to art. He is a generous lender and public display is in the front of his mind when acquiring works for the collection. From exhibitions at The Lightbox in Chris’ hometown of Woking, to major public exhibitions of twentieth-century British art at venues such as The Hepworth Wakefield, Pallant House Gallery, Jerwood Gallery, Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, Leeds Art Gallery and Royal College of Art, The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art loans extensively and widely. Chris Ingram is passionate about making his collection accessible to all.

One of the Collection’s most recent purchases, Meat Porters by Ralph Brown (1928–2013), is a monumental bronze sculpture. It is recognised as the artist’s most significant sculptural work. This piece, conveying visceral brutality and a dark sensuality, combined with the artist’s keen social engagement, is an exciting addition to the collection.

Another recent contemporary acquisition is The Tempest by BP Portrait Prize-winning artist Aleah Chapin. Also of note is Square World I-V, a unique series of five reliefs by Geoffrey Clarke, which were originally commissioned for St Chad, Rubery, Birmingham. They are amongst the earliest examples of Clarke’s work in aluminium and as such mark a key development in twentieth-century sculpture. Clarke received a greater number of public commissions than any other post-war sculptor and as such his work was very influential. 

The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art spans over 100 years of British art and includes nearly 600 works in oil and on paper, sculptures, installations and videos. The main focus of the collection is on the art movements that developed in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century, art that responded to the influence of the two world wars, and art which challenged the usual and the regular. The collection features a broad base of artists with particularly strong groups of works by William Roberts, Edward Burra, Keith Vaughan, John Tunnard, John Craxton and Richard Eurich.

The Ingram Collection contains nearly 100 examples of twentieth-century British sculpture, ranging from preparatory maquettes to monumental bronzes. The collection has very strong holdings of work by amongst others, Dame Elisabeth Frink, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, Geoffrey Clarke, Lynn Chadwick, Kenneth Armitage and Dame Barbara Hepworth. 

There is a new and growing focus on contemporary and emerging artists. With his involvement with, and support for, the MA students at major art schools in London, Chris has bought work from a number of recently graduated artists. These range from traditional works in oils and on paper, to installations and video. Several of these artists – such as Haroon Mirza, Suki Chan and Alexander Hoda – are now gaining international reputations.

Jo Baring, Curator, The Ingram Collection of Modern and Contemporary British Art