Comprised of art, artefacts and literature from the Newcastle Art Gallery and Newcastle Region Library collections, this exhibition celebrates the 70th anniversary of Dr Roland Pope's significant gift to the city that was the catalyst for the building of our cultural institutions and decades of cultural benefaction to Newcastle.
Dr Roland Pope was a Sydney based ophthalmologist and one time cricketer for Australia. He had a notable collection of Australian art and literature. This large scale donation to the cultural life of Newcastle arrived with the requirement that a library and art gallery be built. In 1957 the War Memorial Cultural Centre opened, five years after Pope's death, and in 1977 the purpose built Gallery we know today opened next door.
Housed across both venues; A gift to the city will showcase the breadth of this significant donation. Dr Pope was passionate about sport as well as the finer things in life. The eclectic collection includes books on natural history including a full set of the beautifully illustrated Gould Books of Birds, cricket, golf, architecture, art, ballet, food and wine, gardens, music and theatre, and works of art by Russell Drysdale, WB Gould, Elioth Gruner, Sali Herman and Thea Proctor.
Upon Dr Pope's passing in 1951, Lord Mayor of Newcastle Alderman Armstrong stated the city will always be in his debt because of his exceptional generosity…Dr Pope had no ties in Newcastle and was moved only by a public -spiritedness and his awareness that it was inappropriate for a city of this size to be without a library and art gallery.
This exhibition acknowledges the legacy of a single man who contributed much to the development of culture in the Hunter region.
A gift to the city: the Roland Pope collection exhibition catalogue