Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 11.28.02‘Sunderland: Then and Now’ is a fascinating display of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints from the city’s collection illustrating how Sunderland has developed over the centuries.

The exhibition which runs from Saturday, December 19, 2015 to Sunday, April 3, 2016 is a fascinating exhibition of paintings and prints from the museum’s own collection of showing views across Sunderland from the 1700s up to the present day.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture said: “This is a fascinating exhibition and helps to show the tremendous amount of change the city has gone through over the last few hundred years.

“There was a thriving school of painters in the North East from the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s and Sunderland was an important centre of this artistic activity. Artists recorded important civic events in the city, as well as everyday scenes of working and domestic life.”

The town’s increased prosperity created a market for the work of local painters. The theatres of Sunderland such as The Theatre Royal, Lyceum Theatre and The Avenue Theatre were another factor in attracting artists to the town as they were needed to paint stage scenery.

Students studying photography at the University of Sunderland spent time during November this year photographing the views as they appear today. This project saw the students work with museum staff to identify the locations shown in the art work resulting in some unusual views of the city.

Dr. Carol McKay, Senior Lecturer in Photography, Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland, said: “It has been great to work with the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. With this exhibition we have brought together the historic paintings and prints with contemporary photographs. This combination is a great way of illustrating changes in the landscape, buildings and way of life of the people of Sunderland.

Cllr Kelly added “I encourage anyone with an interest in local history, social history, art or photography to go along and appreciate the skill, artistry and historical significance of the exhibits on display.”

There are an additional three additional new displays to be visited in the Art Gallery; these too feature Sunderland’s interesting and varied collections.

These displays include: Portraits – Sunderland notables from the 17th to 19thcentury, Sunderland Style – a collection of 20th century fashion and Dance – Dame Laura Knight prints of the Ballets Russes alongside photographs of Matt Stokes’ Northern Soul dancers.

For further information visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/sunderland-then-now