You many have seen recently that this statue of suffrage campaigner Millicent Fawcett was unveiled in Parliament Square, London; the first statue of a woman in the Square.
The statue helps highlight her life’s work of campaigning to get women the vote. One of her other legacies is The Fawcett Society, the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.
A local branch, Fawcett Society Merseyside was launched on 8 March 2018 (International Women’s Day). One of the group’s aims is to promote our local suffrage history and they are using History Pin to showcase the Merseyside Suffrage Movement, as well as document the local groups’ key events and achievements. Read more…
Kathryn Edwards is an Artist and Musician. She will be delivering line drawing workshops at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight on 9 June and 24 July as part of the Whistler and Pennell: Etching the city exhibition.
In this blog we give a background to Kathryn as a workshop leader, an insight into how the work of Whistler and Pennell sparked the inspiration for these workshops, which are suitable for beginners and experienced artists alike and all about creating confidence. Kathryn’s art is about interpretation and in this free workshop she wants visitors to feel every line created is the right one, no erasers needed!
Places on the workshop are free but spaces are limited, advance booking via Eventbrite is essential.
Seized! is ten years old today! The new Customs & Excise museum opened on 17 May 2008. Previously situated on the ground floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, it was redesigned and relocated to a larger gallery space in the basement.
Now known as the Border Force National Museum, it is the only museum of its kind in the country with around 300,000 visitors each year. Read more…
Every year at the Museum of Liverpool we hold an afternoon of events and activities to celebrate the work of the Liverpool carters and their horses, linked to the traditional carters’ May Day celebrations. Our 2018 event took place under a lovely blue sky. Our talks on ‘Animals in the First World War’ and ‘Liverpool Parades and Shows’ were well attended and everyone enjoyed making colourful paper flowers for our memorial ceremony.
Frank Short has supported the event every year with his display of magnificent model carts. With a family background in carting Frank has always been fascinated by both horses and carts and spends many, many hours on his models. This year he has expanded into modelling clay figures to accompany the carts – with impressive results. Read more…
Water presents artists with a restless, ever-changing technical challenge. As representations of H2O go, there are some undisputed masterpieces in the Walker Art Gallery’s collection, including Monet’s Breaking up of the ice on the Seine, near Bennecourt, Courbet’s Low Tide at Trouville and Sickert’s The Bathers, Dieppe. Water even provides the backdrop to Fournier’s sombre ‘The Funeral of Shelley’, which is set on a beach – all very fitting, given that the poet drowned at sea in 1822.
With the wet stuff in mind, there is a surprising amount of water too in the Walker’s current display of John Moores Painting Prize first prize winners, which we are celebrating as part of the 60th anniversary of the Prize.
At the Walker Art Gallery we have had a long interest in Chinese contemporary art, and the John Moores Painting Prize China was launched in August 2010. Since then the five prizewinning paintings from the John Moores Painting Prize China have been displayed as part of each John Moores Painting Prize exhibition – you can see this year’s from 14 July to 18 November at the Walker Art Gallery.
If you can’t wait until then, there is currently a great opportunity to see an exhibition of Chinese contemporary art at St George’s Hall as part of China Dream. The exhibition curator tells us more:
“I’m Lindsay Taylor, Curator of PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art which is open until 3 June at St George’s Hall. The exhibition is a counterpoint to the Terracotta Warriors on display at World Museum – it showcases artworks by 19 artists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the diaspora. Some of these are based on traditional Chinese art forms such as paper cuts and landscape painting – but with a modern twist. Other works vary from a zombie film to a sculpture of a shoe for a bird made by a former John Moores Painting Prize (China) winner! The exhibition is full of surprises, however the same age old themes of communication, love, death and power that are told in the Terracotta Warriors exhibition are also prevalent here – not much has changed in over 2000 years!
As Curator of the University of Salford Art Collection I aim to develop a collection that tells a story of now. If we live in what some call ‘the Chinese Century’ I feel it is important to explore contemporary Chinese culture within our museum collections as we move to a less western–centric world. Each of the works on show has been collected over the last six years mainly through working in partnership, mainly with our friends at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester but also with Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. We’re also working with Culture Liverpool and commissioning a new work as legacy of this project which will feature in Episode 2 of China Dream – This is Shanghai opening in July.
If you would like to hear more about ‘PRESENCE: A Window into Chinese Contemporary Art’, I am giving a guided tour of the exhibition in St George’s Hall on Thursday 17 May at 2pm and my co-curator Stephanie Fletcher will give a tour on 31 May at 2pm – the tour is free and we would love to see you. We are also bringing innovators from across the UK together in Liverpool on 11 May to share our experiences of working with and in China and to look for future collaborations. For more information please visit the exhibition events page.”
National Museums Liverpool, working with partners Autism Together, has signed up to the Autism Charter to help make our museums and galleries more autism-friendly for visitors, families and colleagues living with autism and learning difficulties.
We have produced a new range of Welcome guides for the museums and will be rolling out new guides for the galleries later in the year. We’d love you to take a look and let us know what you think of them. We hope they will help visitors prepare for a visit and answer many of your questions during a visit. They can be downloaded from our website or copies can be borrowed from the information desks at World Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum.
Monday 7 May will mark the 103rd anniversary of the sinking of RMS Lusitania, and we will be gathering alongside the Lusitania propeller for our annual commemorative service.
“As the anniversary of the sinking of Lusitania approaches, I’d like to recount a story of a conspiracy! A conspiracy demonstrating the humanity, compassion, consideration, and decency of two men – one in Liverpool, and the other in the south west of Ireland – in an effort to ease the pain and heartache of the widowed mother of one of the crew members who perished in the sinking, and give her some inner peace by facilitating her visit to the final resting place of her dear son. Read more…
From the tender age Qin Shi Huang first became king to the enormous terracotta army built to protect him for eternity, we delve into some of the astonishing numbers that make up the story of China’s First Emperor and his world-famous burial site.
Shaped like a pyramid and clearly visible above ground on the outskirts of China’s ancient capital Xi’an, the tomb mound of China’s First Emperor has been well-known for more than 2,000 years. Almost everything we think we know about it comes from the historian Sima Qian, writing a century later in the early Han Dynasty. Curiously though, his writings contain no mention of the vast terracotta army guarding the Emperor’s tomb; and so their chance discovery on 29 March 1974 surprised the world.
The future First Emperor – then a prince named Ying Zheng – was just 13 years old when he became King of the Qin state in 246 BC. Remarkably, in just over a decade he overpowered the six remaining independent kingdoms of the Late Warring States Period (the Han, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Yan and Qi), declaring himself Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of China, in 221 BC. According to Sima Qian, construction of the Emperor’s mausoleum began soon after he ascended the throne as King of Qin, whilst modern archaeological surveys suggest the scale and complexity of the site grew considerably when he became First Emperor.
Stretching about 5,000 kilometres, the Great Wall of the Qin Dynasty was one of many ambitious construction projects completed during the First Emperor’s reign. Made of compressed earth, the wall connected, lengthened and fortified the pre-existing walls built by individual states during pre-unified times to create a single defensive system against northern tribes. With some sections remaining today, the wall was extended in later dynasties to become the Great Wall of China and stretches over 20,000 kilometres.
200 times bigger
Spanning 56 square kilometres, Qin Shi Huang’s burial site is the biggest-known on earth and is almost 200 times bigger than the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. Poised for battle to protect the Emperor in his afterlife, the terracotta warriors are buried in three pits to the east of the Emperor’s mausoleum. A fourth pit has been left empty, suggesting the Emperor died before his immortal army could be completed.
Standing at an average of 1.8 metres, the life-size terracotta warriors are far taller than an average citizen of the Qin Dynasty would have been. Incredibly, each warrior also weighs between 110 and 300 kilos. Not surprising then, that archaeologists estimate the creation of the warriors along – who are thought to number almost 8,000 – would have taken at least 10 years to complete.
The scale of the terracotta army is even more impressive when you consider it is only a small part of the First Emperor’s grand preparations for the afterlife. Designed like a microcosm of his earthly world, more than 600 pits to date have been identified across the burial site. Only a tiny number have been excavated so far, revealing a trove of riches including armour, chariots, terracotta musicians, cauldrons and weapons so that in death, as in life, the Emperor had everything he needed to rule.
In a monumental feat of engineering and organisation, an estimated 700,000 labourers from all corners of the Empire toiled for almost 40 years to construct the Emperor’s tomb complex. Work even continued after the Emperor’s unexpected death at the age of 49 in 210 BC. In the 1980s, 42 mass graves were uncovered near the mausoleum, and archaeologists believe these belong to the workers who were buried to keep the secrets of the First Emperor’s underground kingdom once it was completed.
For all the elaborate preparations the First Emperor made to rule eternally, his Qin Dynasty collapsed after only 15 years following a period of civil war. The popular revolt was finally quelled in 206 BC, and Liu Bang was proclaimed Emperor of the Han Dynasty. This makes it by far China’s shortest ruling dynasty. Despite its brief tenure though, the Qin Dynasty’s political, social and cultural achievements were immense and laid the foundations for the China we know today.
See incredible finds from this eight wonder of the world at our blockbuster exhibition, China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors that runs until Sunday 28 October 2018.