Four beautiful galleries showcase the acclaimed artwork in the Russell-Cotes.
Galleries I – III
From 1916 to 1919, Annie paid for the building of three additional art galleries to East Cliff Hall. Galleries I, II and III, which are accessed through the Main Hall, enabled many of the largest works of the founding fine art collection to be displayed.
Annie made a second gift to the town – the freehold of the site and the art galleries. These were formally opened by Princess Beatrice on 1 February 1919 – Merton and Annie’s 59th wedding anniversary.
Unfortunately, Annie was unable to attend the formal opening due to ill health, but she did, however,have tea with Princess Beatrice after the ceremony in her Boudoir.
The galleries were opened to visitors, who had purchased advance tickets, for two hours on the first Wednesday of each month.
In 1926, in order to fulfil their parents’ wishes, an additional, and unique-shaped art gallery – Gallery IV – was opened and given to the town by Herbert Russell-Cotes and Ella Stebbing (née Russell-Cotes). It was originally planned to be built at the same time as the other Galleries and was to include an observatory. By 1926, however, hanging space was at a premium and there may have been objections from neighbours about the proposed observatory.