Collection Review – Rutherston Loans Scheme

Collection Review – Rutherston Loans Scheme

In 1925 Charles Rutherston (1866-1927) donated paintings, drawings and sculptures to the gallery on the condition that these artworks would be loaned to galleries and schools to enrich the lives and contribute to the education of ordinary people. For almost 100 years this collection was built upon through a variety of gifts, bequests, transfers and purchases and shared across Greater Manchester and the North of England through a series of lending schemes. Some of the works that were part of the loan scheme can be seen around the gallery today, including Gallery 2 – Friends, Family and Other Animals and Gallery 12 – Out of the Crate

As part of Taking Stock, we are revisiting this collection to make sense of a century of collecting and sharing to best understand its use now. 

We are asking  

How relevant and what creative educational value does this collection still hold, how can it be most useful to Manchester residents and what can a sharing collection look like now?  

We are working with artists, students and staff from The Manchester College (TMC) to develop new ways of valuing, developing and using the Rutherston Loan Collection. We have worked in partnership with TMC for 8 years through the Future Creatives programme 

Future Creatives 2024

Six artists, all previous participants of the Future Creatives programme, have been exploring artworks from the Rutherston Loans Scheme and the role art plays in society.  They have identified parts of the collection that they connect with to create art based personal responses. 

Re(imagining) Rutherston  

These films were made by the six project artists and a team of emerging filmmakers from the University of Manchester, as part of a professionalisation programme.  They explore the same question as the original gift – what educational value does this collection hold? And helps us start to understand what it could be in the future. 

The artists have documented their making process – the thinking, experimenting and research and shared their responses and insights with visual arts tutors and students through talks, tours and workshops. These experiences have been an integral part of the student’s final major project at college along with working at the gallery and seeing parts of the RLC first hand.

I found a deeper meaning in my art and to not just think about the picture or project but the research behind it.
TMC student

After visiting the gallery, I have been hit with creativity. I enjoy teaching others I take to visit the gallery showing them what I’ve learnt, and I’ve taken away.
TMC student

These contemporary creative responses to the RLC will be at the centre of The Manchester College end of year show opening at 6pm on Friday 5 July 2024. Artworks and performances will be in the gallery during the day, giving fresh perspectives and insights to this collection.