The Barber Institute of Fine Arts owes its existence to the vision of Dame Martha Constance Hattie Barber (1869-1932). She was the daughter of a wealthy Worcestershire businessman and married the Birmingham solicitor and property developer, William Henry Barber. Henry proved a highly successful developer and in 1924 he received a Baronetcy for political services to Birmingham, dying three years later. Lady Barber founded the Barber Institute in 1932, leaving the entire Barber fortune to the Trustees of the new Institute when she died four months later, enabling the construction of a new building, the development of the art collection and the funding of public concerts. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is housed in one of Birmingham’s finest Art Deco buildings, opened by Queen Mary in 1939. It contains one of the finest small collections of European art in the UK. Featuring works from the 13th to the 20th century, its particular strengths lie in its Old Master and Impressionist collections.

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