Pallant House Gallery
Modern art in a Georgian setting
Pallant House has established itself as one of the best modern art galleries outside London through a combination of the quality of its permanent art collection, the imagination used to piece together its programme of exhibitions and, perhaps above all, the gallery's outstanding setting.
Pallant House is, arguably, the finest Georgian building in Chichester. Built in the early eighteenth century by wine importer Henry Peckham, the road layout of the Pallants had to be altered slightly to allow Pallant House its full grandeur. The building of Pallant House instigated a thirty year gentrification of the Pallants, which had previously been a shabby district of tanneries and wood framed buildings.
Pallant House was sometimes called Dodo House on account of the misshapen ostrich sculptures which guard the approach to the front door.
Slightly tragically, for most of the twentieth century this fabulous building was used as offices by Chichester District Council.
The catalyst for the change in Pallant House's use was an extraordinary gift by Walter Hussey - the Dean of Chichester. Hussey had built up an impressive collection of modern art and he was willing to leave these valuable works to the city of Chichester on one condition - that Pallant House be converted into an appropriate museum to display the Hussey Collection.
Pallant House gallery opened in 1982 and the amount of gallery space at Pallant House was increased in 2006 with a bold modern extension.
To its fans the gallery extension, which was designed by the English architect Sir Colin Wilson, who was a great supporter of Pallant House, was a triumph, winning several architectural awards.
To others it was a featureless slab of modernism in a beautiful Georgian quarter of Chichester.
Inside, the gallery is small and attractively laid out. The south part of the gallery shows off the older works in the Hussey collection in a Georgian setting, complete with squeaky floorboards. The modern, northern wing is all white paint, bare surfaces and large canvases.
Pallant House is small by the standards of the big London galleries and can be fully appreciated in about an hour or so and is a highly recommended port of call for visitors to Chichester.
Where to stay near Pallant House Gallery
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath
- Art Clubs
- Other Art Galleries in West Sussex
- Art Trails
- Visual Arts
- Arts Funding
- Sussex Artists