Astley Cheetham Art Gallery





Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge was built as a gift to the town by John Frederick Cheetham and his wife Beatrice Astley in 1901. The gallery originally opened as a lecture theatre and then the space was turned into a gallery to house the Astley Cheetham Art Collection, bequeathed in 1932. This collection has grown with gifts and donations throughout the twentieth century and is one of the most interesting small regional collections.

The gallery is family friendly and we welcome visits from children. We always have a craft activity on offer, there are children’s books about artists to read and an eye spy trail of things to spot in the paintings on display.

Some comments from visitors to the gallery include:

“Great little gallery. A real hidden gem in Stalybridge. We will be back!”

“Fantastic display enjoyed by all the family. This was well worth the visit and we will definitely come again.”

“A lovely exhibition. Something to do for old and young alike.”

Entry to the gallery is FREE.


Opening Hours

From Monday 4 February, Astley Cheetham Art Gallery will be open the following hours:
Mondays 9am-1pm
Tuesdays 9am-1pm
Wednesdays 1pm-5pm
Saturdays 10am-3pm

Planning a Visit

Astley Cheetham Art Gallery is situated in Stalybridge town centre, above Stalybridge Library, just outside of Manchester. It is accessible by car, bus and train. There are parking spaces just outside of the building. Please note there is currently no disabled access to the gallery and is only accessible by stairs.
The access statement for Astley Cheetham Art Gallery (1.51MB)  describes the access, facilities and services that we offer.

View highlights from The Astley Cheetham Art Collection.

Please note that not all paintings are on display. Please check before you visit.


Art Treasures of Tameside: 250 years of the Royal Academy

Astley Cheetham Art Gallery marks 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts in their latest exhibition. On display are works from the Astley Cheetham Colletion by former members, students and exhibitors of the Royal Academy including JMW Turner, George Frederic Watts, Edward Burne-Jones and Eduardo Paolozzi.

Membership of the Academy is limited to a select number of living artists. Known as Royal Academicians, they represent some of the most influential painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects of their time. To become a Royal Academician, candidates must first be nominated and then elected by the current membership.

Although the Academy’s founding members included painters Angelica Kauffman and Mary Moser, it took 168 years for the next woman to become a member when Dame Laura Knight was elected in 1936.

The Royal Academy was founded at a time when artists were concerned with the status of their profession. The Academy’s first president Joshua Reynolds encouraged them to capture the artistic ‘ideal’ rather than simply copying from nature. This ‘ideal’, and how to recognise it, became part of an education that distinguished artists from craftsmen.

The Academy reinforced the ‘hierarchy of genres’ – the idea that certain types of paintings were better than others. Scenes of ancient or mythological stories known as history paintings were ranked at the top, followed by portraits, scenes of everyday life, landscapes, animal paintings and lastly still life.

However, there was often a discrepancy between this theory and the actual tastes of the buying public. Portraits, paintings of everyday life, and increasingly landscapes became more popular than ‘high art’ history painting.

Royal Academicians such as JMW Turner and William Collins helped to raise the status of landscape painting. Their work became highly sought after and valuable as public tastes changed during the nineteenth century.

The Royal Academy was often the focus of criticism. The term ‘academic’ came to describe art that was regarded as old fashioned and uninspiring. A group of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelites rejected the ideas of Joshua Reynolds and the Academy. The group included Edward Burne-Jones whose detailed and colourful paintings were inspired by the art of the Middle Ages.

In turn, some of these artists became members of the Royal Academy themselves and helped to shape the course of British art.

Although artistic styles and public tastes have changed dramatically since the eighteenth century, the Academy continues to promote British Art through education and exhibitions. The famous Summer Exhibition of new art has been held every year since 1769 and the Academy continues to train and develop aspiring artists in the Royal Academy Schools.


Your Paintings website - see the nations paintings online

The Public Catalogue Foundation and the BBC have joined forces and are now offering everyone a chance to see all paintings held in public collections in the UK.

As part of this project you can now see many paintings from the Astley Cheetham Art Collection on the Art UK website Link to External Website.

NICE Paintings (The National Inventory of Continental European Paintings)

You can now see some of the artworks held by the Astley Cheetham Art Collection online. 

This is the first phase of the National Inventory Research Project's aim of creating a searchable illustrated inventory of all 22,000 pre-1900 Continental European oil paintings in the UK's public collections.

The database currently contains nearly 8,000 records and over 2,500 images from 200 museums across the UK.

If you would like to be kept informed of future events and activities, please contact us via the details below requesting to be added to our emailing list.

Twitter birds and follow us on Twitter Link to External Website

Contact Information
Contact by Post

Astley Cheetham Art Gallery
Trinity Street
SK15 2BN
Contact by Telephone
0161 343 2878


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