The S.H. Ervin Gallery's Collection consists of approximately 450 paintings, works on paper, sculpture, objects and items of furniture. The majority of the artists represented in the collection are Australian, and primarily representative of the period from the mid-nineteenth up until the late 20th century. In addition to the S.H. Ervin Bequest, the Gallery's collection is made up of the Alan Renshaw Bequest, the Mavis E. Cope Bequest and a number of other gifts and acquisitions.
The S.H Ervin Bequest
Harry Ervin left 49 works from his private collection to the National Trust. These works now form the core of the Gallery's collection. Artists represented include Adrian Feint, George Lambert, Syd Long, and Thea Proctor. Some of the more interesting objects from the Bequest include a T'ang Dynasty ceramic horse and rider; a wine cooler, made from Irish bog yew, which was exhibited in the Great Exhibition in London in 1852; and a suite of furniture, made by F.C De Groot, from Mr Ervin's apartment in the Astor.
The Alan Renshaw Bequest
Alan Renshaw graduated from the University of Sydney Law School in 1928 and became a partner in Dawson, Waldron, the well known Sydney law firm. Alan was a foundation member of Harry Ervin's advisory committee to oversee the implementation of his various bequests. He also advised many artists and became friends with many of them. Renshaw was an "intensely private" person and did not show his collection to anyone outside his immediate circle. Renshaw left works to the Art Gallery of NSW, The University of Sydney and many paintings, etchings and drawings to the S.H. Ervin Gallery. His bequest reflects his patronage of such post-war artists such as Donald Friend, James Gleeson, David Strachan, Justin O'Brien and Jeffrey Smart.
In addition, the Collection includes a number of interesting acquisitions, including a number of watercolours by Conrad Martens; and a library of approximately 250 volumes from the personal libraries of S.H. Ervin & Alan Renshaw.