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Harris Museum & Art Gallery

One of Preston's many institutions that benefitted from the generosity of wealthy lawyer Edmund Robert Harris, the Harris Museum of Art Gallery is housed within the specially-built magnificent architecture of Preston's only Grade I listed neo-classical building, with its imposing columned frontage. Contained within is a standing exhibition about The Story of Preston, alongside permanent collections of paintings, sculpture, textiles, costume, glass and ceramics, as well as temporary exhibitions, events and activities.

On his death Harris (1803-1877) left £300,000 to his home town of Preston. In addition to Harris Technical School and Institute and the Harris Orphanage and School, the majority of the bequest was used in setting up the Harris Free Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery, dominating Preston's main square.

Designed by local architect James Hibbert, the building opened in 1893. Its interior - a tall quadrangular hall 120 ft high - has balconies and galleries decorated with John Somerscales' murals based on Egyptian and Greek themes, while sculptures by Edwin Roscoe Mullins grace the exterior, taking as their subject Pericles, surrounded by artists, poets, philosophers and rhetoricians.

The two floors of paintings concentrate on Victorian artists both collected by the Corporation of Preston and from bequests by other wealthy locals, such as the Richard Newsham Bequest of 1883.

The magnificent neo-classical façade of Preston's Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Harris Museum & Art Gallery Information


When: Daily

Where: Preston

Cost: Free

Opening Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-5pm; Tue 11am-4pm; Sun 11am-4pm; Closed Bank Holidays

Address: Market Sq, Preston, PR1 2PP

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