The Idea of the Manchester Art Museum

 The Annunciation (after Lippo Lippi)

 ‘Art is not only a useful thing… but is, certainly for all dwellers in large towns, a necessary for health. Neither the community nor the individual, who is not affected by the influence of Art, can possibly live a full healthy life in a modern town.’ Thomas Horsfall, founder of the Manchester Art Museum.

The guiding principle of the Manchester Art Museum was that regular contact with art and beauty was not a luxury, but was a necessity for everyone, both children and adults. Without exposure to art, city dwellers could neither know nor love the beauty of God’s creation. Accordingly, the Art Museum was created a kind of visual classroom, designed to open the hearts and minds, as well as the eyes, of its visitors.

Its activities quickly developed beyond the display of art and within a few years, the Art Museum became a welcoming and inclusive social and educational centre for the people of Ancoats.



Thomas Coglan Horsfall, The Need for Art in Manchester, 1910

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