The Barber Institute’s numerically modest but qualitatively impressive holdings of European fine art have been methodically acquired, since 1936, on the judicious advice of a succession of art-historian directors. The collection is owned by the Henry Barber Trust, established alongside the Institute to manage the funds from its founder, Lady Barber, that underpin it. Among the Barber’s holdings are thirty-four Netherlandish, Dutch or Flemish pictures, thirteen drawings, including outstanding sheets by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and others, and about one hundred prints. Particularly notable among the paintings are fine works by Jan de Beer, Jan Gossart, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Frans Hals, Matthias Stom, Govert Flinck, Jan Davidsz de Heem, Antony Van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Steen, Aelbert Cuyp and Salomon van Ruysdael. Information on individual works in the collection, which continues to grow, can be found on the museum’s website.
Robert Wenley, Head of Collections, Deputy Director, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham (May 2021)