The Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library is the base for Southwark Council's Museum and Art Collection team. The team manages the Cuming museum and Southwark Art collections as well as other heritage responsibilities in the borough. Only a 55 works from the 5000-strong art collection are on display and the rest are in store or on loan to other organisations.
The Southwark Art Collection is largely but not exclusively comprised of the South London Gallery (SLG) art collection and contains over 5,000 items including coins and medals, ceramics, prints and drawings and over 300 oil paintings dating from the seventeenth century through to contemporary artworks. Southwark council manages the SLG's collection as part of a 25 year management arrangement with the present day South London Gallery which from 2003 became an independent charitable trust focussing on contemporary art.
The SLG historic collection was established as a series of exhibitions in 1878 and soon became a permanent collection comprising gifts, bequests and later acquisitions. The collection was officially opened as the South London Gallery in 1891. Like most museums and galleries in this country, the collection is indebted to the Art Fund, Prism Fund and the Contemporary Art Society. Highlights of the collection include works by Anish Kapoor, John Piper, Stanley Spencer and Bertha Newcombe, as well as a strong collection of local Southwark and Camberwell artists. It also has an especially fine Arts and Crafts period collection including ceramics by the Martin brothers, William de Morgan and paintings by Evelyn De Morgan and Walter Crane.
Works in the collection may also be viewed online by visiting heritage.southwark.gov.uk and many more works are being added to the digital exhibitions.
Works may be visited in store by appointment but this carries a charge as works are held in deep store. As there are only two members of the team, there is no capacity to arrange short notice visits but discuss this with us via email firstname.lastname@example.org