What We Do
Dulwich Picture Gallery
The Gallery, the world’s first purpose-built public art gallery, was established more than 200 years ago because its founders believed as many people as possible should see great paintings. Today we believe the same.
We house a world-class collection of Old Master paintings in Sir John Soane’s unique building allowing visitors to experience exceptional art in an intimate, welcoming setting.
We remain relevant by uniting our history with our present using innovative exhibitions, scholarship and pioneering education to change lives:
Caring for the Collection
A unique story in the history of art for public enjoyment
We were founded in 1811 following the bequest of 370 17th and 18th century paintings by Sir Francis Bourgeois RA to Dulwich College for the “inspection of the public”. One of our core duties is to preserve, display and interpret both the collection and Sir John Soane’s famous building, for present and future generations.
Old masters, new perspectives
We unite our past with our present through a unique programme of innovative exhibitions, approaching art and artists from new and different angles. Our shows might introduce new artists to the UK; or rediscover artists once famous, now neglected; or present new perspectives on household names. Currently, our programme has four principal strands: Modern British, Rediscovering Old Masters: the Melosi Series, Works on Paper and International.
Art changes lives
We aim to engage people in the visual arts, through scholarship, exhibition, and education, reaching out and serving as wide a public as possible by making all our activities accessible, for people of all ages and abilities. Our Good Times: Art for Older People programme addresses pressing issues facing older people (and their carers) such as dementia and Alzheimer’s; while our youth programme, The Creatives tackles isolation and at-risk groups of younger people. These two groups come together in our intergenerational programme to help address issues of social cohesion.
Dulwich Picture Gallery is a charity (registered charity no. 1040942).