The Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service: Colchester Collection has particularly strong holdings of local topographical scenes as well as depictions of members of the local community. A major element of the collection is the paintings that were commissioned to furnish Colchester Town Hall which opened in 1902. Artists include Harry Becker, Frank Daniell, Charles Head and John Lewis Reilly. The portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, commissioned in 1991 from local artist Richard Stone, is perhaps one of the best-known images of the monarch.
Although consisting predominantly of 19th century and more modern works, there are a few paintings in the collection earlier than 1800; 'Flemish Village Merrymaking' by David Vinckeboons being perhaps the most important painting in the collection.
There are a number of well-known artists with strong local connections represented in the collection. First and foremost is John Constable through his portrait 'Reverend Thomas Lechmere Grimwood, DD (1740–1809), Headmaster of Dedham Grammar School'.
Other artists of note include John Nash, Lucien Pissarro and the nineteenth century artist John Vine who, despite being born with only rudimentary hands, became an accomplished painter.