Enjoy a superb cappuccino and cake at Cafe Tatham, browse for gifts and carefully selected craft in the Tatham Shop and if you are lucky, take in a music concert. Or simply enjoy the display of artworks in carefully curated exhibitions!
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Tatham Art Gallery

The Tatham Art Gallery is one of the major art museums in South Africa. This art museum is funded by the Msunduzi Municipality and belongs to the residents of Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. The Tatham Art Gallery serves the Msunduzi region through the Visual Arts.

A major function of the Tatham Art Gallery, established in 1903, is to display art. This is accomplished through the hosting of a range of art exhibitions. These include travelling and researched exhibitions as well as exhibitions initiated by the Gallery, and based on art works in the permanent collection.

The Permanent Collection

A selection of the Tatham Art Gallery's permanent collection is always on display. Work by South African and European artists is displayed upstairs. The work of KwaZulu-Natal artists is displayed downstairs. A selection of ceramics is displayed in the Ceramics Room.

The Main Exhibition Room

The Tatham Art Gallery displays major exhibitions in the Main Exhibition Room downstairs. Exhibitions change on a regular basis. These include travelling and researched exhibitions showing the works of groups or individual artists of significance. There are also exhibitions organised by the Gallery that draw on the works in the permanent collection or from artists of KwaZulu-Natal.

The Schreiner Gallery

The Schreiner Gallery is an exhibition space dedicated to smaller temporary exhibitions. Artists may apply to use this space for solo or group exhibitions. Visit the EXHIBITIONS page here for more and for requirements if you wish to apply.


The Tatham Art Gallery has an extensive Education and Outreach programme, including art classes for the youth, Art Educator training , an Artist’s Forum and Lectures and talks.   Continue reading →

Current Temporary Exhibitions

Bronwen Findlay (b.1953),  Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry Tree  (2018), oil on canvas

Bronwen Findlay (b.1953), Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry Tree (2018), oil on canvas

Flowers in Art:
From our Collection

Schreiner Gallery
Opens Friday 30 November 2018 from 09h00
Closes Sunday 27 January 2019 at 17h00

This exhibition, drawn from the Gallery’s permanent collection, was inspired by a recent acquisition. Earlier in 2018 the Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery purchased a work by Bronwen Findlay from her exhibition in Johannesburg, for the Gallery’s collection.

Bronwen is well-known for her unusual depictions of flowers in paint and prints. Other works on this exhibition include paintings and objects with flower themes from other South African and international artists.

Technical Officer Phumlani Ntshangase with an earthenware pot.

Technical Officer Phumlani Ntshangase with an earthenware pot.

Large works from our Collection

Main Gallery
From Friday 7 December
Closes Sunday 17 February 2019

This exhibition is a selection of large art works from the Gallery’s permanent collection.

Some of these works are too large for our store rooms and spend their days stacked in passages. It is time to give them air and let them speak their powerful messages. As we were looking at size in the first place, we did not consciously choose a theme or country of origin. During the process of selection we came across surprizing juxtapositions, and the exhibition gathered a momentum of its own. Visitors are challenged to find their own meaning and context in this display.

Musa Mtshali, The Tshwala Drinker, wood

The Schreiner Collection:
A Recent Bequest

Schreiner Gallery
From Friday 01 February 2019
Closes Sunday 24 March 2019

This exhibition honours the legacy of Deneys and Else Schreiner, who were staunch supporters of the arts. The Schreiner Gallery was named after them many years ago. Following Else’s death in August 2018, the Gallery received thirty two art works from their collection as a bequest, some of which are on display here.

Else said there were no decisive factors in their collect- ing habits, apart from fun. They often bought items because they were beautiful, affordable or made them laugh. Scattered throughout the house were portraits, etchings, watercolours, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and weavings. Each piece had a story, but their collection wasn’t planned.

Visit the Tatham Shop for gifts, crafts, ceramics and artworks!

Current Exhibitions from the Collection

John Nash (1893-1977),  Still Life , oil on canvas

John Nash (1893-1977), Still Life, oil on canvas

Time - Place - Culture

This eclectic display of European and South African art works spans more than three centuries. Each art work has its own story to tell.

This painting by John Northcote Nash, the brother of artist Paul Nash, is an example of early English Modernism. The dry application of paint is due to John Nash’s association with Harold Gilman at 19 Fitzroy Street, London, the rendezvous of a number of artists. Gilman warned Nash against mixing paint with oil. “There’s enough oil in the paint anyhow,” he said, “without adding more to the treacherous stuff.”

The example below is by a famous Impressionist artist, and the painting has travelled as far as Japan for major exhibitions.

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), The Orchard, oil on canvas

Alfred Sisley (1839 – 1899), The Orchard, oil on canvas

Born in Paris of British parents, Alfred Sisley probably decided to become an artist while living in London from 1857 to 1859. He trained as an artist and worked in France. Here he developed his mature style of varied surface texture by using looser, freer and more rhythmical bush strokes, as seen in this work.

  • Perimeter Gallery

Bonisiwe Magwaza, Ukhamba, earthenware

Containers for Liquid

Part of the current display is a historic overview of 20th century South African commercial potteries. These potteries, of which few still operate, played an important part in South African society between the two World Wars. Viewers interested in the history of design will find a fascinating fusion of European and African influences. 

In this display liquid holders representing different cultures, purposes, designs and materials are juxtaposed. On display are several uphiso and ukhamba vessels, hand made by traditional Zulu potters as containers for water and especially beer. The example below shows a deviation from tradition. The pot is not blackened, and the floral design is unusual. The vessel is probably influenced by the requirements of the tourist trade.

Limoges,  19th Century Teacups , porcelain

Limoges, 19th Century Teacups, porcelain

These delicate Limoges cups and saucers arrived at the Tatham Art Gallery between 1923 and 1926 as part of the valuable Whitwell collection. This French town is famous for its fine 19th Century porcelain.

  • Ceramics Room

Diamond Bozas,  Brooding Hills near Melmoth , oil on board.

Diamond Bozas, Brooding Hills near Melmoth, oil on board.

The South African Landscape

This display, selected from the Gallery’s permanent collection, features landscape paintings by South African artists. For concert goers they have become a serene background to the world-class music performed in this room. While listening, the  audience could  focus  on  a painting and ponder on the meaning of land from different perspectives. One could ask: Who painted this landscape? How has the scene changed over the years? What impact did the changes have on people’s lives?

The Diamond Bozas painting of the sugarcane lands of Zululand (above) is a rich source for such exploration.

This English landscape forms part of this exhibition for a special reason. It was painted by well known South African artist Bertha King Everard. Bertha and her sister Edith King were both born in South Africa but lived and studied art in England before their return to South Africa early in the 20th Century.

Bertha Everard (1873 – 1965), Edith Picking Flowers (1900), oil on canvas.

Edith Picking Flowers was possibly painted in Kent. Valerie Leigh, a previous Director of the Tatham Art Gallery, wrote, “The prominent feature in this painting is the cliff. The inclusion of Edith in this painting has a special poignancy. The small figure is placed near the cliff which provides a sunny, flower-filled setting, emphasizing the figure’s femininity, vulnerability and mortality.”

  • Lorna Ferguson Room

The Fabulous Picture Show

The annual fund-raising project

More than R77 000 was raised at the recent auction. Visit www.fotag.co.za for the results and images that were auctioned Friday 23 November at ‘The Fabulous Picture Show 2018’.

Sunday Concerts

Selected Sundays at 11h30

The Friends of the Tatham Art Gallery (FOTAG), in association with Music Revival, present a regular monthly concert which usually takes place on the last Sunday of each month.

The concerts highlight and showcase the recently acquired Shigeru Kawai grand piano purchased by the Gallery. This ensures the continuation of highly successful and engaging concerts for local audiences at the Tatham.

Visit www.musicrevival.co.za for all details.

Sunday concerts at the Tatham Art Gallery now offer free tickets for children and students. Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult and booking is still preferred.


Film Club

Lecture Theatre
Season One
Tuesdays 5 February to 16 April (except 2 April)

On Tuesdays from 18h00, FilmClub patrons can enjoy a light, inexpensive supper in Café Tatham. FilmClub charges a nominal R35 per show, with subscribers enjoying a substantial discount. Booking is essential as the venue can only hold 50 people.

FilmClub aims to foster an understanding and apprecia- tion of cinema as an art form. Each screening is preceded by a short introduction that draws viewers’ attention to the salient aspects of the film they are about to view.

antonvdhoven@gmail.com or 033 343 1355/083 233 2663

Visit the Cafe Tatham for the best cappuccino and cake in town!

Lectures, Talks and Workshops

From time to time the Gallery arranges lectures, talks and creative workshops or master classes for artists by highly skilled teachers and speakers. Please contact Reena to add your name to the list of interested participants, and she will let you know when the next opportunity arrives or join the FOTAG email list Enquiries/ Bookings reena.bhoodram@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2823

Tatham Reference Library

NOTICE: The Library remains closed to the public until further notice


For FOTAG to continue publicising the Gallery activities, we need your subscription. Subscriptions run from July 2018 until the end of June 2019. If you join now, your subscription will be valid until the end of June 2019. The subscription form can be found below.

Annual General Meeting Wednesday 17 October 2018 Enquiries bryony.clark@msunduzi.gov.za or 033 392 2825 (mornings only)

Find out more about your possible experience at the Tatham! Go to VISIT!