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Our fine art collection consists of watercolours, drawings and prints which cannot be on permanent display as they will become damaged from too much exposure to light. We display the collection in themed exhibitions but sometimes your favourites may not be out. If there is a particular work you are coming in especially to see, please call or email in advance to check whether it is on display.


Current Exhibitions and Displays:


Edvard Munch- Body and Soul

Body & Soul

2 April 2022 - 2 October 2022

Wixamtree and Connections Gallery – Free Entry


Drawn from the internationally renowned Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection, explore artists’ depictions of women over the past two centuries. Old and young, fleshy or ethereal, fashionably dressed or nude, this exhibition examines how beauty and femininity has been celebrated and challenged through the ages, whilst questioning our own modern perceptions.


Almost 60 watercolours, oils and prints will be on display, including works by Edgar Degas, Edvard Munch, Dora Carrington, Stanley Spencer, Henri Matisse, Gwen John, Roy Litchenstein and Chila Burman.


Find out more about the exhibition here > 




Future Bedford – An Exhibition of Children’s Work from The Harpur Trust Art Competition

9 July – 4 September 2022

Sir William Harpur Gallery – Free Entry


The Harpur Trust presents an exciting exhibition of artwork by young people aged 4-16 years from Bedford Borough schools as part of The Harpur Trust biennial Art Competition.


Thinking ahead to the future, pupils from local schools were asked to select any year and create their vision of what they think the future might hold for Bedford.


Find out more about the exhibition here > 


EB - Plantsman

Edward Bawden: Artist Plantsman

29 January 2022 - 15 January 2023

Edward Bawden Gallery, Free Entry


Explore Edward Bawden’s love of plants and gardens in this exhibition of all things botanical. Drawn exclusively from the Edward Bawden archive, view early wallpaper designs, advertising commissions and iconic linocuts.


Find out more about the exhibition here >


Warden Abbey Tile

Warden Abbey Revealed

19 October 2021 - October 2022

Outside Settlement Gallery, Free Entry


Research by the Old Warden History and Heritage Society alongside the results of the geophysical survey by MOLA (Northampton) have revealed the grandeur of the medieval Cistercian abbey. The reconstruction illustration by Peter Dunn based on this work will be on display with a selection of archaeological artefacts recovered from excavation at Warden Abbey.


Find out more about the display here >


Blunt Blades Main Photo (003)

Blunt Blades

11 November 2021 – 30 October 2022

The Higgins House – Free Entry


In 2013, artist Arabel Lebrusan received several crates of confiscated knives and weapons from Bedfordshire Police. Through photography, drawings, sculpture, jewellery and audio, this display curated by Arabel explores our complex relationship with knives, and whether the meaning of an object can be re-established and transformed to evoke different emotions.


Find out more about the display here > 


Redbornstoke Morris

Innovation and Tradition: 40 years of Morris

3rd November 2020 - Early 2023

Outside Somewhere in England Gallery, Free Entry


The last forty or so years have seen great shifts in what most people think of as a fixed and unchanging English tradition.This display traces the impact of innovation and change on tradition through the story of two local Morris teams: Redbornstoke Morris and Bedfordshire Lace Morris. See original costumes, archive photographs and objects connected with these teams over the years.


Find out more about the display here >


break the stigma collage

Let's Be Open About Mental Health to Break the Stigma

Castle Lane Cases Outside The Higgins Bedford, Free Entry


The Higgins Bedford has worked with the Let's Be Open About Mental Health campaign to showcase this display of poems, artwork and messages made by local people, to give encouragment to people who may be struggling with their mental health at this current time.


Find out more about the display here >


poish independence

Poland: in Bedford

Great Bedfordians Gallery, Free Entry


Explore the stories of Bedford's Polish community in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Polish Independence. Follow their experiences of early life in Poland, memories of migration, journeys to Britain and life after settling in Bedford.


Find out more about the exhibition here >


arion on the dolphin

Spotlight on the Collections

Spotlight Gallery, Free Entry 


The Spotlight Gallery currently hosts a display of Greek coins from our collections. Future displays will explore a wide range of themes, including objects and their stories from our stores, recent archaeological finds from around Bedford and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.


Find out more about the display here > 


 Caroline Coster cycling in Mowsbury Park

UK Disability History Month



For UK Disability History Month (UKDHM), explore the personal experiences of people living with disabilities through the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.


Find out more about the display here > 


windrush poster

'Paved with Gold': Bedford's Windrush Generation

Online Exhibition


Explore the stories of the people that settled in Bedford, and the contributions they have made to the community in this online exhibition.


Find out more about the exhibition here >


International Women's Day - Pearl Thomson

Online Display


Celebrate the life of one of our Great Bedfordians; Pearl Thomson. Born in Jamaica, Pearl arrived in Bedford in 1956 and became the town's first female teacher from the Caribbean.


Find out more about the display here >