Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service holds a richly varied collection of around 1,500 works of art of regional and national significance. The collection belongs to Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, but since 2007 has been cared for by Link4Life's Arts & Heritage Service on behalf of the council. The collection is primarily displayed at Touchstones Rochdale, formerly known as Rochdale Art Gallery.
When the Gallery opened in 1903, it did so with 164 donations, primarily given by wealthy local textile industrialists. The collection has continued to develop ever since through a mix of donations and purchases and the Gallery works with organisations such as the Contemporary Art Society to make contemporary acquisitions.
Highlights of the collection include an Italian panel painting dating from the 1420s by Giovanni di Paolo; a typical sentimental Victorian painting by Charles Burton Barber called 'A Special Pleader' which is probably the Gallery’s best known painting due to its reproduction on biscuit tins and jigsaws; and 'Woman’s Head with a Yellow Background' by Lucian Freud from 1963.