The Gallery owes its existence to the vision and dedication of Florence Phillips, wife of the mining magnate, Sir Lionel Phillips. Florence Phillips spent the spring and summers of the early years of the century in Europe and during these sojourns she developed her interest in the Arts. She became very aware of the contrast between the cultural riches of the European capitals and the barrenness of Johannesburg, and she resolved to enrich this mining town by giving it an art gallery in which she planned to include a design workshop, a library and an area for the permanent display of her rare lace collection. The art collection was started in 1909, the nucleus of the collection consisting of some 130 paintings, watercolours, drawings, etchings and sculpture. It is housed in Joubert Park in Johannesburg.