The Fry Public Art Gallery was opened in 1987 and houses an impressive number of paintings, prints, illustrations, wallpapers and decorative designs by artists of the 20th century and the present day who have local connections and have made a significant contribution to their field. There is an emphasis on those who for a variety of reasons settled in Great Bardfield between the early thirties of the last century and the death in 1983 of John Aldridge RA who had lived in the village for fifty years.
Edward Bawden RA who, with his friend Eric Ravilious, discovered Bardfield a year before the arrival of Aldridge and dominated the scene for almost four decades, is represented by nearly 600 items. The Gallery has also acquired work by Ravilious and his wife Tirzah Garwood, and by those other artists who came to the village during the second world war - Michael Rothenstein RA, and his wife Duffy (now Duffy Ayers), Kenneth Rowntree, & George Chapman. The collection also includes prints and paintings by Bawden's son Richard, and examples of the very varied work of artists who made their way to Bardfield in the 1950s - Marianne Straub, Audrey Cruddas, Sheila Robinson, Bernard Cheese and Walter Hoyle.
The Gallery was built in 1856 to house the collection of Francis Gibson, a local Quaker businessman, and the building passed by descent to the Fry family, from whom the Fry Art Gallery Society purchased it in 2015.