New artwork added to the Cooper Collection

Thanks to funding from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, a new portrait by local artist Richard Kitson has been added to the Cooper collection.

Commissioned as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant fund, which supports cultural and creative industries across the region, the new work is a contemporary piece adding to the Gallery’s already outstanding collection of portraits.

Birdwell based artist, Richard Kitson, was chosen from several applicants to create a portrait of Paul Elmhirst, long-standing Chair of The Cooper Gallery, to be displayed and accessioned into the permanent collection.

Richard was previously a teacher of A level fine art at Barnsley 6th Form College and participated in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year, where he painted Paralympian Kadeena Cox OBE.

Richard prefers to paint the subject at personal sittings rather than from photographs as this allows him to capture the sitter's personality better. This is reflected in his work, and visitors can now view the stunning results in the Cooper Gallery, which is free to enter, alongside work by Vanessa Bell, John Ruskin and JMW Turner.

Councillor Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “The Cooper Gallery’s outstanding collection is for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. Bequest to the town by Samuel Joshua Cooper, the collection was an incredible gift to us all, and important to protect and preserve. By adding to the collection in this way, we are supporting local artists and giving people the opportunities to see new styles of art for generations to come.”

For more information about the Cooper Gallery, visit