The Wardown Park Museum art collection has its origins in Luton Museum, which opened in 1927 at the Carnegie Library. At that time, the Higgins sisters loaned nine paintings of ‘old views of Luton’ to the collection. It moved to Wardown House in 1931 and the fine art collection focused on architecture, topographical scenes and notable families in Bedfordshire. Fittingly for a museum that is recognised for the strength of its straw hat industry collection, the first painting donated by its Friends organisation was ‘Plaiting Straw near St Albans’ by Daniel Pasmore, showing ‘Brazilian’ hats being made. With plans for a separate art gallery, the collection broadened. Now it has returned to a strong local emphasis with scenes of the local area and works by local artists. These include paintings by Arthur Claude Cooke and Amy Katherine Browning, both born in Luton. The artist Edward Callam grew up in Luton and was commissioned to record the town before major changes, including the new shopping centre, in the early 1970s. His ‘Celestial County’ series was based around local landscapes connected with John Bunyan’s book ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’.
Wardown Park Museum, Luton Culture
Old Bedford Road, Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 7HA England
Please remember to double-check the opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit