Bringing world-class art to the heart of Hull since the early 1900s

Did you know Ferens Art Gallery takes its name from our original benefactor – Thomas Robinson Ferens?

Thomas Robinson Ferens was an MP for Kingston upon Hull East in the early 1900s. Earlier, he’d also worked for Hull’s Reckitt and Sons, a well-known British manufacturer.

Outside of Ferens Art Gallery from the late 1920s

Ferens Art Gallery c.1927 - 1929

T. R. Ferens was a long-time supporter of our gallery even before it opened. In 1905, he donated money to the Hull Corporation so they could purchase art for the local collections. Later, in 1917, T. R. Ferens donated even more money. This time to build a new art gallery on the site of the former St John’s Church. Thanks to his support, Ferens Art Gallery opened in 1927 and is still going strong almost 100 years later!

A painting of an old man wearing a suit.

Thomas Ferens

At first, Ferens Art Gallery was independently run. That was until 1975, when the museums and art gallery were combined under a single curator. In the years after opening, T. R. Ferens provided a further endowment, which funded most of our existing art collections. We’re now home to collections of nationally and internationally significant art – from late medieval painting to modern art. We hold works by prominent European, British and local artists, and much more besides!

In May 2015, we received a £4.5 million makeover ahead of hosting the 2017 Turner Prize as part of Hull City of Culture. King Charles and Queen Camilla (then Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall) visited us to admire the refurbishment.

Today, we’re proud to welcome visitors from Hull and beyond to enjoy one of the UK’s finest art collections.