Mon-Sat: 10am–4:30pm, Sunday: 11am-4pm

About Us

Who we are

The Friends of the Ferens organisation was founded in 1961, by the then curator Michael Compton, both to support the gallery and to further encourage the enjoyment of art in Hull and its surrounding area.

Our continuing aims are most importantly

  • To encourage and promote the enjoyment of art
  • To help to purchase art and conserve art already in the collection
  • To support special projects in the gallery (Future Ferens, Open Exhibition)

We also aim:

  • To increase our Membership and build on the fantastic support we already have
  • To encourage more Patrons and Corporate Members
  • To develop specific roles and responsibilities for the co-opted members
  • Organise visits, lectures and events for the Friends to enjoy
Alexander Johnson’s, The Press Gang

1960 - 1990

A Brief History of the Friends of the Ferens


Preliminary Committee meeting to set up Society of Friends of the Ferens Art Gallery. Alderman H Fairbotham, Cllr L Rosen, Michael Compton (Curator), Dr R Raines, Prof A G Dickens, J Priestman, R Sugden. Invited to join: Col R A Alec-Smith, L H Downs, R Hosdel, Cllr R Sanderson. Public Meeting 10 November to launch The Society.


Prof Dickens Chair.


John Bernasconi elected to Governors.


Lorna Rosen elected to Governors. Rose Supper following AGM to mark 21st anniversary of the Friends Agreed to propose at next AGM - increase in subscription: £3, and £6 for patrons.


John Bradshaw led Friends group in visits to Moscow and Leningrad, and to Spain. Friends’ Russian Evening in the autumn with blinis, caviar and Russian costumes.


Friends trip to Budapest.


3 Friends resigned “in protest over controversial exhibitions” . Power Plays, Pandora’s Box. Traditionalists inveighing against sexual content. ”satires on Royal sexual habits…explicit sexual content.” The gallery acquired Michael Craig Martin’s Man 1984 – controversy in local press. Long weekend visit by Friends to Paris.


Friends visit Bologna and Paris.


Ferens Diamond Jubilee. Friends visit Barcelona, and later in the year - Verona.


In the spring, Friends visit Andalucia (Gibralter, Seville, Cordoba, Grenada, Torremalinos).

Bor, Paulus; Vertumnus and Pomona; Ferens Art Gallery;
Colquhoun, Robert; Leaning Woman; Ferens Art Gallery;
The Wreck of the Ship 'Thomas' off the Stony Binks, 8 June 1821

1991 - 2000

A Brief History of the Friends of the Ferens


Friends visit Hamburg and Hansiatic Cities.


Tony Finn elected to Governors. Louise Karlsen (West) is Principal Keeper (Ferens). Elected to Friends’ committee. John Bradshaw retires as Director of Hull City Museums & Art Galleries. Presented with portrait-sculpture by Lucy Casson (in Ferens collection). John Bradshaw continues as Hon Sec of Friends, and is ex-officio Friends’ committee member. Friends visits: Boston Mass, USA. Belgium (Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent to see Van Eyck alterpiece).


Friends visit Portugal (Lisbon, Oporto).


Lorna Rosen becomes Chair. Friends agree rise in subscription to £5 member, £10 Patron At AGM report that new subscription rates are not being universally adhered to! Collecting the extra amounts is proving hard work for Dorothy Soulsby, Ferens admin person responsible for collecting Friends’ subscriptions!


New subscription charges gradually being adhered to. Thanks to Mrs Dorothy Soulsby for her hard work in upgrading these. Only 19% had refused to increase the amount. Friends visit Naples.


Friends visit the Vermeer Exhibition in The Hague.


Friends visit Warsaw and Krakow.


Friends visit France (Lyon and Dijon).

2001 - 2010

A Brief History of the Friends of the Ferens


Death of John Bradshaw on 24 July 2001 at the age of 70, after a long illness. John was significant in the development of the Friends.


First edition of Newsletter, edited by Tony Finn.


Designer contracted to produce Friends’ brochure (by Haris Livas). Friends’ stand completed. Adopt-a-Painting scheme introduced. Friends acknowledge that works of art for the Ferens are beyond their budget now. Switch to focus on restoration and contributions to new works. The new FoFAG posters distributed throughout East Riding. At AGM Lorna Rosen retires as Chair. Tony Finn elected unanimously as Chair. Piano in honour of John Bradshaw now installed. FoFAG subscription fee officially £5 minimum. Agreed to offer 3 £20 prizes for Junior Open Exhibition. 330 members .


Tony Finn Chair. Agreed to remind members annually that subscriptions are due! 317 paid members at April 2005. Open Exhibition (new name) 23 July-11 Sept. Visit to Birmingham Antiques Fair.


Haris Livas Chair. Chrys Bavey co-opted to committee to take charge of membership records. Friends visit Tate Liverpool.


August: The Art of Friendship: exhibition of art by members of the Friends. Meet the Artists event 11 August.


March: visit to Hull by Friends of Lincoln. Welcomed by FoFAG chair. April: masterclass in Chinese painting for Friends. July: Friends visit University of Hull Art Collection. AGM July: Christopher Wright guest speaker. CW author of the Victorian and Edwardian Catalogue. October: Friends visit China. November: talk on Chinese art and sale of original Chinese artworks to raise funds for the Ferens.


April: Wakefield Friends visit. Welcomed by FoFAG chair. Given guided tour of Ferens. July: AGM Michael Compton guest speaker.

2011 - 2021

A Brief History of the Friends of the Ferens


Friends’ Golden Jubilee Brian Hill elected Chair, Chrys Bavey Vice Chair. May: Newsletter Joint Runner-up for organisations of less than 500 members. BAFM (British Association of Friends of Museums) Annual Newsletter Competition 2010. Golden Jubilee and 2011 AGM Saturday 23 July. The theme of the AGM was the 50th Anniversary of FoFAG and the 10th Anniversary of John Bradshaw’s death. Exhibition of John Bradshaw’s work with the Friends as Hon Sec and organiser of trips at home and abroad.


Brian Hill retires and accepts role of FoFAG President. Haris Livas resigns from the Friends. June: AGM Guest speaker conservator Lucy Critchlow, to talk on conservation of Francesco Guardi’s Sophronia.


Frances Kelly elected Chair. FoFAG Trustees agreed £20,000 to support Ferens for projects such as restoration work and funding applications for 2017, and to provide a contingency fund for the Gallery during the renovation period. Corporate Membership in 2015: Arco, BP, William Jackson, KCom, Rollits and the Spencer Group. George Houlton and Sons Ltd continued to sponsor the Newsletter. Ferens closed for renovation from September 2015.


Ferens closed for renovation until hand-back at the end of November. Gallery staff were able to complete the re-hang and the hang of the Open Exhibition by 23 December 2016. Conserved under Adopt-a-Painting Scheme Portrait of Miss Ivy Lilian Close, Arthur Hacker. Funded by Gareth Neame Portrait of a Musician, William Dobson. Funded by Waldemar Januszczak


Hull awarded title of City of Culture 2017 Turner Prize awarded in Hull – 5 December 2017. Ferens Gallery re-opens 13 January 2017. The Lorenzetti painting: Christ Between Saints Paul and Peter installed in January. Friends special “Re-opening Evening” held on 11 January. Friends Turner Prize Evening held on Friday 24 November. Lubaina Hamid wins Turner Prize, but Hurvin Anderson wins Friends’ Choice. FoFAG initiates re-branding of publicity material in line with Ferens new branding. Membership December 2017 = 689


In October Chrys Bavey acting chair (FK on extended leave for family illness). Death of Brian Hill, FoFAG President, 11 May 2019. Hawley’s Auctioneers commits to sponsorship of Friends’ newsletter.


February: Frances Kelly resigns from Chair and Trustee. Marti Hall elected Chair. 16 March: Covid epidemic measures to be put in place. Trustees will meet online from now on. Ferens closed. April: first issue of FANDANGO – digital art newsletter. 5 October: first Trustee ZOOM meeting. 20 November: AGM ZOOM meeting. 4 December: Tim Stimson – Laura Knight. Talk via ZOOM. Membership December 2020 = 504


Zoom talks for Friends: 30 April: Dr Catherine Wynne - Lady Butler – War Artist. 28 May: Dom Heffer - Painting Under the Influence? 25 June: Rose Horspool - Stanley Spencer. May: last issue (No. 10) of FANDANGO. Tony Finn to resume production of Friends Newsletter. Issue 67 due early September.

The Friends of Ferens Art Gallery is a Registered Charity No 225045.

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