The Wilson, formerly known as the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, is Gloucestershire’s premier art gallery and museum. The venue is managed by The Cheltenham Trust.
At the heart of The Wilson’s art collection is a small group of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings. They were given in 1898 as part of a collection of 43 Dutch and Belgian paintings by Charles Conrad Adolphus du Bois, third Baron de Ferrières (1824–1908). The Baron also gave £1000 towards founding the art gallery, which opened the following year in 1899 with his gift on display. The collection had been created by his father, the second Baron, when living in Brussels in the 1840s and ‘50s. He died in Cheltenham in 1864. The gift also includes Dutch and Belgian nineteenth-century work. The collection reflects contemporary interest in genre painting, most significant pictures are the moral tales by Jan Steen, the Fat and Lean Kitchen, and, A Man and a Woman at Wine by Gabriel Metsu, an enduring image full of humanity. Also important is Self-Portrait by Gerrit Dou with its delight in the trappings of the artist’s profession and surface texture.
Kirsty Hartsiotis, Cultural Producer: Decorative and Fine Art Collections (September 2021)