AN exciting new exhibition which celebrates 100 years of Hartlepool’s art, culture and history opens in town later this month.

Century, which runs from Tuesday, September 29 until Saturday, January 9 at Hartlepool Art Gallery will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Sir William Gray House, formerly The Gray Art Gallery which first housed the town’s art collection.

The Gray Art Gallery moved from its original site in 1996; splitting into two distinct parts, The Museum of Hartlepool taking up residence on the Historic Quay, and the Hartlepool Art Gallery establishing a strong identity in Edward Buckton Lamb’s striking Grade 2 listed, 1854 Gothic Revivalist Christ Church.

The vibrant new exhibition, curated by multi award winning artist Dr Narbi Price will celebrate the Hartlepool Museum Service’s world-class collection of artworks, bringing together pieces from the 19th century, through the 20th, all the way up to 2020.

Hartlepool-born artist, Dr Price has selected works that have a strong resonance with the town, alongside landmark pieces from the canon of modern art history and brand new contemporary works.

Dr Price said: “Hartlepool Art Gallery has shown some incredible and important work in its relatively short history, some of which is part of this landmark exhibition. Mature resolved works by major figures of 20th-century art, such as Lucien Freud, Frank Auerbach and John Bratby, rub shoulders here with lesser-known, but no less significant works by artists such as Deryck Stephen Crowther and Enrico Equi”.

The exhibition also features works by one of Hartlepool’s finest artists, John W. McCracken, who was well-known for his portraits of Hartlepool people and who worked at the town’s Gray Art Gallery, he was instrumental in acquiring several important modern works of art for the town’s collection.

Dr Price added: “That work of this quality is here in Hartlepool is fantastic, and putting together this exhibition has been a wonderful opportunity to make sense of the history of the gallery, the town, and the century."

Dr Price has produced a new painting for Century, ‘Untitled Promenade Painting (Bombardment for Theo Jones)’ which commemorates the tragic sacrifice of Pte. Theophilus Jones, the first casualty of the First World War on UK soil, and responds to the painting ‘The Bombardment of the Hartlepools (16 December 1914)’ by James Clark, which hangs in the Museum of Hartlepool.

The exhibition is not an encyclopaedic survey of the artworks held in Hartlepool Museum Service’s collection, rather it is a handpicked, and carefully curated selection of works that tell a story and work to complement and contrast with other artworks in the show.

David Worthington, Head of Cultural Services at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The Century exhibition represents a significant milestone in the formation of Hartlepool's art, culture and history and provides a rare opportunity for people to walk through 100 years of our impressive art collection and discover several hidden gems that they may not have seen on display before.”

The gallery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm and entry to the exhibition is free. For more information call (01429) 869706 or visit