Ann Bryant Art Gallery turns 115
Built in 1905 as a family house at a cost 3 000 pounds, the Ann Bryant Art Gallery on St Marks Road in Belgravia turns 115 years old this year. The house was bought by Edmund and Anne Bryant in 1907 and extended into a block that goes all the way to Oxford Street.
The Bryants were a family of art lovers and they built a private collection that mainly had paintings by British and European artist of the 18th and 19th century. Ann was born in 1862 and passed on in 1946 at the age of 84. She spent the last years of her life collecting valuable art pieces. When her husband died in 1928, he left the home with her, she then left it to the city to be used as an art gallery when she passed on.
The gallery was named the Ann Bryant Art Gallery and was officially opened to the public in 1947. The double-storey house with an additional house in the premises has been altered to make the rooms spacious for exhibitions, but most of them have remained the same. The gallery features a massive colourful garden that is often used for performance arts and for photoshoots.
It houses fine art pieces which include those of famous artists such as Thomas Bowler, Maud Sumner, Norman Gatherine and Lawrence Scully. The gallery is open to members of the public to come and enjoy the fine art.
Gallery curator, Leon du Preez says sometimes people come in to take pictures in and around the gallery as an appreciation of the beauty. They have managed to keep residents and travellers excited with their art pieces, although they do not host big events.
In 2019, the gallery hosted over 150 rural and township children between the ages of seven and 18 as they exhibited their artwork for the first time at a gallery, under the theme ’25 years of Democracy’.
The gallery is also home to the Walter Sisulu University’s Fine Art department that hosts annual exhibitions of some of the finest artists in East London. The art gallery has become a home of expression for artists from all corners of the Buffalo City Metro.