Manchester Art Gallery is home to one of the most significant collections of seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch and Flemish paintings in a British public gallery outside London.
At the heart of this collection is a bequest made by Edgar and Effie Assheton Bennett in 1979 comprising 72 oil paintings, mostly small in scale and representing a broad range of Dutch artists and subjects. Notable highlights include works by the Leiden fijnschilders such as Gerrit Dou, as well as highly finished interior scenes by Jacob Ochtervelt and Hendrick Sorgh. There are elaborate flower paintings by Jan van Huysum and Jan van Os, landscapes by Jan van Goyen and Salomon van Ruysdael, as well as seascapes by Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael, Simon de Vlieger and Jan van de Cappelle.
Outside of this bequest, the collection features a further 26 oil paintings including its largest, the colorful altarpiece The Raising of Lazarus by Abraham Bloemaert and a recent gift of The Goatherd by Nicolaes Berchem. Around a quarter of the collection is currently on display telling the story of art in the Netherlands 1600-1800 and revealing much about the history of collecting and the taste for Dutch and Flemish paintings in the twentieth century.
Rebecca Milner, Curator of Fine Art (September 2021)