Devoted to the artistic work of the Scottish colourist painter John Duncan Fergusson (1874 - 1961), the Fergusson Gallery is located in Marshall Place, Perth, opposite the South Inch. The gallery is home to the largest collection of his works in the world, including drawings, paintings and sculpture, which are displayed through a programme of changing exhibitions. The collection and an associated archive were gifted by his widow to Perth and Kinross Council in 1991, largely because they were one of few public bodies willing to put it on permanent display but also because Fergusson had family connections with nearby Pitlochry. The gallery continues to collect works by Fergusson and other artists associated with him.
Opened in 1992 by Sir Norman Macfarlane (b.1926), a noted patron of the arts, the gallery occupies an A-listed Neo-Classical former waterworks designed in 1832 in the style of a Roman Doric Temple by Adam Anderson (1780 - 1846), the Rector of Perth Academy. In order to supply the town, fresh water was pumped by steam engine from filter beds on Moncreiffe Island, in the River Tay, into the large domed cast-iron cistern which comprises the waterworks. This is thought to represent the earliest cast-iron building in the world, assembled from 192 panels which were cast by the Dundee Foundry Company, held together by bolts and mounted on a substantial masonry base. It had a capacity of 663,730 litres (146,000 gallons). Anderson inscribed the words Aquam Igne et Aqua Haurio - by fire and water I draw water - above the entrance. The building was almost demolished in the 1960s, but converted to a tourist information centre in 1972 before taking on its current purpose. The building was subject to a £1 million refurbishment in 2002-03, which involved the dismantling and conservation of the entire cast-iron structure.