De Montfort University has a strong and enviable reputation for art and design having started off as Leicester School of Art in 1870. The Leicester School of Art was founded with the object of teaching art and design and promoting the fine arts.
The School (later College) of Art thrived under the leadership of a series of enthusiastic Principals; themselves often noted or distinguished practicing artists. Students performed well at national art competitions and were encouraged to become craftsmen or designers for local industries. By the time the College of Art became part of Leicester Polytechnic in 1969 arts teaching had settled along more traditional lines, with a Department of Fine Art offering painting and sculpture, and a Department of Industrial Design teaching furniture design, metal work, ceramics, glass, and interior design.
Today as courses at DMU these traditional subjects have expanded to include modern media with courses in animation, game art and photography and video offered alongside fine art and design crafts. Artworks within the Art Collections reflect DMU's history and include works from most of the key time periods outlined above by way of staff, students and honorary doctorates or visiting lecturers.