Leeds nostalgia: museum shows only fraction of collection

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Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow in the heart of Leeds has a vast collection of items, most of which are not on display.

At any one time, it only displays around 10 per cent of its estimated 10,000 items, the rest being kept behind the scenes, although the stock is rotated.

Among its collection are nationally acclaimed prints, watercolours, paintings, sculptures, photography and contemporary art

Wander between rooms and see well-known artists from our region, such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Atkinson Grimshaw, Jacob Kramer, as well as work by a range of contemporary artists including Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Georgina Starr, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Francis Bacon. There is even a miniature ‘Brick Man’, a scaled-down version of the one which artist Anthony Gormley wanted to build on the Holbeck Triangle, behind the present day train station and in the shadow of Bridgewater Place. Gormley’s plan fell foul of political wrangling and it was opposed by councillors in Leeds at the time, many of whom said it would be an eyesore. Many since have begged to differ.

Sir Henry Spencer Moore (1898-1986) was perhaps the museum’s most famous patron, his sculptures being evident both inside and out.

The son of a mining engineer, he was born in Castleford and became well known for his larger-scale abstract cast bronze and carved marble sculptures.

Moore had strong connections to Leeds, studying at Leeds Art College in 1919.