For thousands of years artists and craftspeople have taken inspiration from the world around them, creatively transforming raw materials into useful objects and decorative beauty. Many have an intrinsic beauty and naturally take on a wide variety of different forms.

Materials and Masters examines these raw materials in detail, from rocks in the earth to the life on its surface; exploring the journey at the hands of the artists who transform those materials into art.

In contrast to cabinets arranged by time period, Materials and Masters is categorised by Vegetable, Glass, Stone, Animal, Metal and Earth, asserting emphasis on the materials which form the unique assortment of artefacts on display.

Adorning the walls is a stunning collection of 16th Century Dutch oil paintings and copies of Old Masters which were given to The Beaney by Gerard Frederick de Zoete. They were from a much larger collection of European art made by his father, Samuel Herman de Zoete.

HandThis is a Family Friendly Gallery!

Location First floor, The Beaney
Activities for Adults Kaleidoscope exploration
Activities for Children Doll’s House to touch, investigate and play

Explore the Collections

This portrait is a copy by an unknown artist of Portrait of a Young Man by the famed Renaissance artist Raphael (1483 –1520). Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. The subject is thought to be a self-portrait…

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Known as the Venus Flower Basket, this artefact is actually the skeleton of a deep ocean sponge. It is made of silica, or glass, by the soft-bodied creature living inside.

In traditional Asian cultures it was given as a wedding gift (in its dead, dry state) because the sponge symbiotically houses two small shrimps…

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On display is one woman’s lifetime collection of dolls and dolls house furniture from the early 20th century, selected and arranged by artist and puppeteer Estelle Rosenfeld.

Miss G H Veraguth (1880-1974) grew her collection both at home in England and during travels with her mother in Europe…

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