Robert McDougall Art Gallery

Christchurch, New Zealand

Robert McDougall Art Gallery

The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is a heritage building in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was designed by Edward Armstrong and it opened in 1932. It is a Category I heritage building listed with Heritage New Zealand and is located within the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

In 1925 James Jamieson, a wealthy local building contractor, pledged to leave his art collection to Christchurch City on the condition that a new premises were built to house it. The Christchurch City Council held a referendum to gauge public support for taking out a loan to pay for the new gallery. This idea was rejected and nothing happened until 1928 when Robert McDougall donated £25,000 for the gallery to be built. A competition was set up to find an agreeable design. The selection committee, which included Robert McDougall, choose Edward Armstrong's design. The site in the botanic gardens behind the Canterbury Museum was chosen. Building of the new gallery commenced in November 1930 and by April 1932 it was near completion when funds ran low. Robert McDougall supplemented his original gift enabling the completion of the gallery at a total cost of £31,000. In total the new gallery housed 160 works, the majority of which came from two collections, the Canterbury Society of Arts and James Jamieson's collection. By 1961 the McDougall's collection had grown to 325 works, and by 2001 it was over 5,000 items. The collection outgrew the Robert McDougall Gallery and the Christchurch Art Gallery was built to house the collection in 2002. The Robert McDougall Gallery was largely empty from the opening of the new art gallery until it was closed permanently after the September 2010 earthquake. The building survived the Christchurch earthquakes and had some repairs in 2016. It is awaiting more strengthening work to protect it against future earthquakes and it still remains empty.

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