Deirdre and James Dyson
In terms of home appliances, the Dyson name has a certain luxury cachet. So it’s no surprise that the family behind the brand has also amassed a formidable collection of paintings and sculptures, with an emphasis on British Pop art. Among the highlights in their holdings are pieces by Peter Blake, Allen Jones, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney, Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso, and more marquee names. Tim Marlow, chief executive and director of the Design Museum in London, has said that the Dysons’ collection is “wide-ranging and personal but also has an underlying coherence and quality.”
Deirdre and James Dyson made headlines in 2020 when they announced that they would put part of that high-quality collection on display for the public. At the time, the couple was currently seeking approval from the local government in South Gloucestershire, England, in order to open an art gallery. The two-level space, to be housed in a sleek structure designed by Wilkinson Eyre architects, will be custom-built on the 300 acres of grounds of their family home, Dodington Park, a historic country estate built in the 18th century. The museum, titled the Dodington Art Gallery, is currently set to open in 2023.
The collectors, who met in 1966 while students at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London, also have their own bonafide art credentials. James also studied at the Royal College of Art in the British capital, which might account for the slick designs of the Dyson vacuums. In 2015, Deirdre published Walking on Art with Thames & Hudson, which discusses her painting career—her works have previously been exhibited in New York and London—and her work in carpet design. “I wanted the carpets to look like works of art,” Deidre told the Times of London in 2015. “Why shouldn’t they? Why can’t you be an artist and a craftsperson any more? So many famous historical artists were. I think that’s the thing missing with contemporary art.” Deirdre’s rugs have previously been commissioned for presentations at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, among other venues.