Art daytrip - Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

When London won the bid for the 2012 Olympics, my enthusiasm was rather muted. Whilst it was billed as a national ‘success’, I couldn’t help thinking that the only place that would really benefit was London. Therefore, when I was invited to the press preview of the opening of a new gallery at Pallant House in Chichester, I was delighted at the prospect of a venture that had all the cultural prestige of London and the potential to redirect the blinkered glare of national attention.

At just over an hour from Lewes, the journey to Chichester is a comparable distance to London, although significantly cheaper. A short walk from the station takes you to Pallant House, with its grand Queen Anne frontage which now sits adjoined to the new contemporary gallery extension. It is, of course, no mean feat to have secured planning permission which allows such a controversial pairing and it was not met without opposition. But Pallant House has been founded on controversy. It became an art gallery when the patron Walter Hussey left his entire collection on condition that the function of the building was changed from council offices. Thirty years later the decision to build a contemporary extension was ‘greatly influenced’ by the promise of ‘Sandy’ Wilson to leave his collection if there was a contemporary space to house it. With the biggest collection of modern art outside the Tate including Peter Blake, Lucian Freud and Patrick Caulfield, the new improved Pallant House deserves to be seen in person. It opens to the public on July 1st. ER

Who needs the Tate? Pallant House in Chichester is well worth a visit
Pallant House, 9 North Pallant, Chichester
When? Open from July 1st, 10am-5pm, Tue- Sat
How Much? £6.50/£3.50 concs/£2 kids

Pallant House
(t) 01243 774557
(w) Website