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About the Archives and Special Collections


The Otter Gallery is home to a significant collection of art that includes works across all media. The ‘jewel in the crown’ is the Bishop Otter Trust art collection formed 70 years ago under the leadership of the then principal Miss K M E (Betty) Murray and the Head of Art, Miss Sheila McCririck. Together they developed a collection of contemporary art that has inspired generations of students. They were helped by the support of Walter Hussey, who arrived as the new Dean at Chichester Cathedral in 1955. This support helped promote acceptance of sometimes controversial and challenging pieces such as Patrick Heron’s Black and White.

The collection has been enhanced by the recent acquisition of William Crozier’s oil painting Dark Fields Essex (1960). The Gallery also houses a complementary collection of 20th and 21st Century British art funded by the donations and bequests of generous donors, artists, galleries and trusts, known as the University of Chichester Art Collection. Recent acquisitions include: William Littlejohn’s watercolour Dove Plate on a Gold Ground (1991), two landscape paintings by Chichester artist Peter Iden and a number of works by tapestry weaver Michael Crompton.

The collections exist for the benefit of students, staff and visitors and wherever possible work is displayed on public view across the two university campuses in Chichester and Bognor Regis. Some outstanding pieces from the collections may be seen in annual exhibitions at the Otter Gallery and are frequently displayed around the Learning Resource Centre. Items are regularly loaned to regional, national and international galleries. If you are interested in viewing particular works from the collection please refer to our website list then contact the gallery to make an appointment.

A fully illustrated book about the Bishop Otter Trust Art Collection edited by Gill Clarke is available for purchase at the reception desk.