Cranford Collection was founded in 1999 with the support and collaboration of curator Andrew Renton. London had become one of the most vibrant cities for contemporary art. One of the collection’s key initial aims was to build a London-based, international collection that was reflective of the dynamic scene in London as well as of the larger international context of contemporary art. From the start, Cranford Collection sought to support emerging artists. This patronage of a new generation of artists was framed and contextualised with work by some of the more established and defining names of contemporary art since the 1960s.

In 2005, Cranford Collection began mounting a series of installations in a domestic context. The hang is rotated approximately every 18 months. This series continues to date and enables the Collection to explore the possibilities of contemporary art outside of the conventional exhibition setting. This environment enables radically different relationships between artworks and artists. It also offers the unique challenge of how to successfully present uncompromising artworks in a home and demonstrates that the most interesting contemporary artwork can be lived with and experienced in new ways over time.

In 2011, curator Anne Pontégnie joined Cranford Collection to continue the story that had begun a decade earlier. In 2013 the collection was invited to exhibit at Fundacion Banco Santander outside Madrid. This large scale exhibition was titled Out of the house as it was the first time the collection was presented in a public context. In October 2014, Cranford Collection office was moved to its own building on Albany Street, London. This new setting has allowed Cranford Collection to lead a number of projects such as workshops and screenings.

Cranford Collection is a publicly minded collection, with a history of collaborating with public institutions of all sizes, in London and beyond. Works from the collection are regularly loaned to exhibitions around the world.