Museum hosts berry good exhibition in new gallery space

Published: 23 December 2021

Arthur Berry, Brampton Museum, A Ragged Richness, Art, Exhibition
The Arthur Berry exhibition is the first in the museum's new gallery space.

Enhance your visit by attending an Arthur Berry film showing, with Ray Johnson from the Staffordshire Film Archive, on Saturday, 22 January at 2pm.

A popular heritage and cultural gem in Newcastle has partially reopened to the public to celebrate the talents of a renowned artist known as the Lowry of the Potteries.

The Brampton Museum – working in collaboration with Barewall Art Gallery in Burslem – is thrilled to host an art exhibition, and a series of Covid-secure events, promoting the life, work and legacy of Arthur Berry who is widely regarded as one of North Staffordshire’s most famous artists.

“Arthur Berry: A Ragged Richness” combines an attractive display of more than 20 masterpieces, such as “The Bicycle Race” from 1973 which is thought to relate to a milk race in Newcastle and “See or Say Nowt”, with complementary activities in the museum’s new event space including an informative talk led by a local historian and a film showing.

It coincides with the launch of a new book, sharing the same title, by art historian and author Peter Davies which appraises Berry as one of the most unique artists in British Art with an individual style incorporating gritty industrial localism.

Arthur, who lived in Wolstanton and worked with the New Vic Theatre before he died, was especially known for capturing the culture, people and landscape of the local area. He was also a successful playwright, poet and teacher. As a teacher, he is best known for his long association with the Burslem School of Art, where he had studied, which later became the North Staffordshire Polytechnic.

The exhibition is the first to take place in the museum’s new gallery space, The Jim Wain Courtyard Gallery, following an 18-month redevelopment supported by National Lottery players and Newcastle-under-Lyme Civic Society. The rest of the museum is set to reopen in the spring.

Visitors can also view footage of Arthur talking about his work and buy the book and other merchandise. Entry to the art exhibition, which runs until Sunday, 6 March, is free and no pre-booking is required. Limited free parking is available.

Cllr. Jill Waring, Cabinet member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: “The Brampton Museum is closed for a little longer while exciting redevelopment works are finished to attract more diverse audiences and offer more meaningful visits. However, I’m absolutely delighted that we are able to open the new gallery and event spaces for our first exhibition and linked activities, especially something of this calibre. This is a sign of things to come – we’re starting as we mean to go on.

“This is an amazing opportunity to shine the spotlight on a well-known, local artist – whose work is often compared to LS Lowry because of its subject matter and style – and raise awareness of him as a great in the British art scene. This is going to be really popular, both with residents and visitors from outside of the borough.”

Barewall Art Gallery works with Arthur Berry’s estate and approached the Council about the possibility of an exhibition.

Amanda Bromley, from Barewall Art Gallery, added: “It’s a great honour to work with the Council as they host the first exhibition in the lovely, new gallery space at the Brampton Museum. As Arthur Berry lived in Wolstanton at the end of his life, it’s a wonderful homecoming for him.”

Special events, which can be pre-booked, include –

  • Arthur Berry in Person: film showing – Saturday, 22 January at 2pm. Entry is £6.
  • An illustrated talk by Remy Cheeseman, honorary archivist at the Victoria Theatre Archive, about Berry's characters on stage – Saturday, 5 February at 2pm. Entry is £6.
  • Revealing Voices: a talk by Jane Wood – Saturday, 19 February, 2pm to 3pm. Entry is £6.
  • Arthur Berry portrait workshop with renowned local artist Ian Mood – Saturday, 26 February, 10am to 4pm. Entry is £16 (art materials supplied).
  • Locally Made Art Market – Saturday, 5 March, 10am to 4.30pm. Entry is free.

More information is available at

The art exhibition is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and on Sundays from 2pm to 4pm.

Last updated 20 January 2022