The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery – review

The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery has been described as a ‘hidden gem’ in the centre of the University of Leeds campus. Since its genesis in 1970, it has accumulated a diverse collection of European and British paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, miniatures and photographs that span from the 17th century to the present day. The majority of these artefacts are from the University Arts Collection and the University Library Special Collections. However, their temporary exhibitions present old and contemporary art from a variety of sources, such as the recent Alfred Drury travelling exhibition, as well as the display of artists’ books, Gather and Bind created during a series of book-making workshops at the Gallery.

In the 40 years since the gallery was established, it has grown significantly and flourished. When the then professor of Fine Art, Lawrence Gowing, the Vice Chancellor, Sir Roger Stevens and Stanley Burton set up the gallery in 1970, it was simply used as a venue for exhibitions that were on temporary loan to the University and it did not attract much attention. Only a decade later did it start to accommodate more in-house exhibitions and a wider range of the University’s own collection, which are both a prominent part of the Gallery’s displays today.

In 1992 the Gallery underwent a makeover, receiving grants from The Henry Moore Foundation, The Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund and The University of Leeds. These helped in transforming the Gallery into the attractive and roomy space that exists today. In addition to this renovation, in 2007, the infamous architects Pringle Richards Sharratt, who designed the stunning Glass Gallery in the Victoria and Albert Museum, gave the entrance from the Parkinson Court greater prominence and converted three rooms into one large space to house the permanent collection. When walking through the gallery the spacious and airy atmosphere created by the architecture enhances the images and artefacts on display.

With free entrance and a range of objects on display there really is no reason to miss visiting this lovely gallery. Its prime location in the University of Leeds’ main building allows easy accessibility, and also for one to have a look around some of the other attractive university buildings. The gallery also hosts ‘Burton Saturday Events’ which is a highly successful club with members of all ages, encouraging interaction with the arts and creative activity such as sewing, printing, dance, creative writing and more. Each of their major exhibitions is additionally accompanied by various related events.

The next exhibition on show, Martin Froy & the Figurative Tradition, is on display from May 7th – be sure to get yourself there for a visit!

Celia Lloyd-Jones


The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
Parkinson Building
University of Leeds


Filed under: Art & Photography