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Lady Lever Art Gallery set for Takeover Day

22 November 2017 by Jo Keenan

On Saturday 25th November, the Lady Lever Art Gallery will be taken over by Sixth Form students from Weatherhead High School who will lead a programme of free family friendly activities.

The gallery’s education team have been working with Year 12 students from the school as part of their leadership programme to develop events for the day.  This years Takeover will be the third that the Gallery has been involved in and the first where students will deliver Family Art Club sessions for 7 – 12 year olds.

Takeover Day is a celebration of children and young people’s contributions to museums, galleries, arts organisations, archives and heritage sites. It’s a day on which they are given meaningful roles in the cultural sector and is coordinated nationally by Kids in Museums.

Caroline Carney, Media Arts Coordinator at Weatherhead High School said: ‘Weatherhead is once again delighted to be part of Teen Takeover Day and working closely with National Museums Liverpool. The event is an important part of our Sixth Form enrichment programme, developing students’ skills in communication, teamwork and leadership.’

Students have organised a murder mystery quest and tour of the gallery, a fairy-tale flash mob, poetry readings and a 19th century selfie booth! After exploring the gallery, visitors can also enjoy entertainment by talented A Level musicians and dancers from Weatherhead High School.

With free entry and prizes for some activities, why not pop along for a fun filled afternoon for all the family 12:45 –  3:20pm?

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2017

17 November 2017 by Matt

On Monday 20 November we will once again be commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Museum of Liverpool. As a museum that represents the lives of Liverpool’s people we understand how important it is for us to stand alongside the trans community and commemorate those who have been killed or taken their own lives due to transphobic violence or discrimination.

Throughout the day a screen in the museum’s atrium will be displaying the names of those trans people who have been killed since October 2016. Whilst compiling the list for display I was saddened and shocked to realise the sheer number of people who had lost their lives through hate. It brought to home exactly why this commemoration is so very important.  Read more…

LGBT History Month – the national launch

16 November 2017 by Matt

Professor Sue Sanders of Schools Out and LGBT History Month.

On 8 November the Museum of Liverpool had the honour of hosting the national launch of LGBT History Month which will take place in February 2018. The theme for the month long celebration is Geography: Mapping the World and with fabulous views across the River Mersey and Liverpool’s south docks the location was perfect.

The event started with a teacher’s seminar, led by Professor Sue Sanders from Schools OUT UK and LGBT History Month and was a chance for local teachers to explore how they can address LGBT+ issues, stories, and history better in schools. It was also a chance for us at the Museum of Liverpool to showcase our LGBT+ resources and to launch our new LGBT+ awareness session on language and law for Key Stage 3+ groups.

Speakers included representatives from National Museums Liverpool, Homotopia, Liverpool Pride, GYRO, Writing on the Wall, Schools OUT UK and special messages from Daniel Carden MP and Justine Greening MP, the Minister for Education and Equalities.  Read more…

Santa Claus is coming to town!

16 November 2017 by Laura

People with santa statue

Blackler’s Santa in 2016 with Phil and Alexis Redmond and the creator, Peter Blazey. Image by Gareth Jones

The enormous glitzy tree of Liverpool One is flashing its love hearts above shoppers; the Christmas markets are settling into their new homes in corners of the city centre, and across Liverpool schools children are learning their lines for nativity plays. Read more…

John Moores Painting Prize winner to receive a three-month fellowship

14 November 2017 by Ann Bukantas

The John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery

For the first time, to mark the 60th anniversary of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2018, there is a three-part prize awaiting the competition’s first prize-winner. In addition to winning £25,000, the first prize-winning artist will be offered a solo show at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019. In our recent blog, we told you more about this opportunity. Now it’s time to reveal more about the third part of the main prize – a three-month Fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University. Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of Liverpool School of Art & Design, tells us more about this:

Liverpool John Moores University is delighted to offer this Fellowship to the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize winner in the 60th anniversary year. The Fellowship will enable the winning artist to visit the School of Art & Design and enhance their working practice through collaboration with other dynamic art professionals, with access to the wonderful resources in the John Lennon Art & Design Building and immersion in a vibrant and creative Higher Education environment. This competition will bring the best contemporary painting to Liverpool and I hope that this will also stimulate the creative juices of our student population, whilst offering inspiration and ambition for their future creative art careers.

We had an opportunity to take a tour of the fantastic facilities that will be on offer to the winner, from studio and display space through to access to workshops with cutting-edge creative equipment. As well as traditional painting-based facilities, the winner will enjoy access to workshops for printmaking, textiles, technology and 3-D model-making – to name but a few. The University will work with the prize-winner to agree on a mutually-convenient time for the Fellowship to take place.

For your opportunity to become the first prize winner, make sure you enter the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize by clicking on this link. The deadline to enter has just been extended, so you have until 12 noon on Monday 20 November 2017 to register.

Radio Merseyside celebrates 50th birthday at Museum of Liverpool

14 November 2017 by Laura


Radio Merseyside will broadcasting live from Museum of Liverpool on 22 November to celebrate their 50th anniversary

BBC Radio Merseyside first hit the airwaves 50 years ago, on 22nd November 1967 and we’re so delighted the station has chosen to celebrate this landmark anniversary with us. Assistant Editor, Pauline McAdam tells us more: Read more…

Events team launch a new space with an ‘Around the World Museum’ celebration

10 November 2017 by Eleanor Webster

world-museum-launch-eventOn Thursday 9 November the World Museum launched its stunning new events space, celebrating with an ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ inspired evening.

Opening up an area of the Museum previously unseen by the public, the new multi-purpose space has been redeveloped with events in mind and can be utilised by connecting three different areas of the Museum’s ground floor. Modern elements of the redevelopment, such as adaptable up-lighting, were admired alongside the grand features of the breath-taking space last night as guests enjoyed acoustic classics from local band, The Crutwells. The room was dressed with hot air balloon themed floral displays from Red Productions and a projection of a compass highlighted the room’s original features, with special lighting managed by MSP. More travel-themed props filled the room, provided by Event Prop Hire, and the Jolly Good Photo Company allowed guests to capture their ‘Around the World Museum’ experience with a nostalgic snapshot.

Read more…

Entry deadline for £25,000 JM Painting Prize extended

9 November 2017 by Felicity

The John Moores Painting Prize 2014 prizewinners, including first prizewinner Michael Simpson (far right).

The deadline for entries to the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 has been extended to 12 noon on Monday 20 November (enter here). We want to make sure that as many people as possible are able to apply for the Prize in 2018, its 60th year!

This year’s prize is an extra special one. As well as winning £25,000 and the chance to have your painting acquired by the Walker, the winner can look forward to a career-changing solo show at the Gallery and a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, which will be bespoke to the individual. Read more…

‘Never at Sea’… well, never say never

8 November 2017 by Jen

Cap belonging to Chief WRNS Officer, HMS Eaglet, Mis P.G. Stubbs - 1981.730.6

Uniform cap belonging to Chief WRNS Officer, HMS Eaglet, Miss PG Stubbs – 1981.730.6

It is 1917 and for the last three years war on a scale previously unseen and unimagined has been raging between the European powers. Young men have died by the thousands and the end is still not in sight. Britain is facing a shortage of manpower and finally considering radical measures; to free up men for the front, women will be asked to volunteer with the services to fill non-fighting roles. Read more…

Maggi Hambling visits

8 November 2017 by Sarah

‘Good Time George’ by Maggi Hambling. Copyright Maggi Hambling

Contemporary artist Maggi Hambling visited Liverpool today, to give ‘Good Time George’ – her painting of her close friend and Liverpudlian George Melly – to the Walker Art Gallery.

George was the most colourful son of Liverpool: jazz performer, surrealist, comic, raconteur, critic and author, often referred to fondly as ‘Good Time George’.

He came from a well-known Liverpool family and grew up in South Liverpool. Born in 1926, he was educated at Stow and could entertain, fascinate and outrage – often all at the same time. Remaining a frequent visitor to Liverpool throughout his life, George actively supported the city’s arts. In 1997 he sat on the jury for the John Moores Painting Prize, which culminates in an exhibition of contemporary painting at the Walker Art Gallery every two years.

Maggi Hambling is one of Britain’s foremost and well known contemporary artists. In 2014 she made her return to the National Gallery, where she was their first Artist in Residence in 1980, with the exhibition Walls of Water. Earlier this year, Touch at the British Museum was an important retrospective of her works on paper and its accompanying book includes drawings of George Melly. Her latest series of paintings and sculpture, Edge, was shown at Marlborough Fine Art earlier this year, and her painting of Michael Jackson will be included in the National Portrait Gallery’s On the Wall exhibition next year.

Hambling’s work is held in many public collections, including Tate, British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. ‘Good Time George’ is the first of the artist’s paintings to be added to the Walker Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

About the painting 

Maggi Hambling. Photograph by Douglas Atfield

Maggi Hambling and George Melly were close friends.

Maggi Hambling said: “George often makes a grand appearance in my dreams. I still hear him laugh, tell jokes and sing. From wherever he may be…”

Maggi painted and drew George from life, and posthumously. He said she would go down in art history as “Maggi (Coffin) Hambling”, referring to her practice of drawing and painting people on their deathbeds and afterwards.

Hambling and Melly met while lying on the path at a garden party and at once became friends. They then worked together in the early 1980s when he chaired the cult Channel 4 arts quiz, ‘Gallery’, in which Hambling was one of the two team captains. In 1998, Hambling was commissioned by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery to paint Melly’s portrait.

This is an important return to the Walker Art Gallery for the ‘Good Time George’ portrait, which was first displayed at the gallery in 2009 in an exhibition of more than 20 paintings and drawings titled George Always: Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Maggi for giving the painting to the Walker Art Gallery and to the City: Liverpool feels like its natural home. This gift marks a long relationship between artist, Gallery, George and Liverpool, and her work will be a significant addition to the Walker’s important collection of contemporary painting. I’m sure it will be hugely popular with our visitors.”

You can find out more on our website

About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.




We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.