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When Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun met Emma Hamilton

15 April 2016 by Xanthe

painting of a woman holding a tambourine

‘Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante’ by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun

We know quite a lot about Vigée Le Brun’s portrait of Emma Hamilton, and what she thought of Emma, because in the mid 1820s, towards the end of a long painting career of more than 50 years, she decided to write up her diaries and publish them as memoirs in 1836-37.

Vigée first met Emma when the artist arrived in Naples in 1790, having fled Paris with her 9 year old daughter, at the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Vigée was given refuge by the Queen of Naples, the sister of the French Queen Marie-Antoinette, whose favourite portrait painter was Vigée. When she fled Paris she left her art-dealer husband, Jean-Baptiste Le Brun, behind to protect the family house and studio contents. He was later forced by the French Revolutionary government to divorce her to retain their property. She spent the next 12 years travelling around the courts of continental Europe visiting cities in Italy, Austria and Russia, making a successful living by painting portraits of royalty, aristocrats and their courtiers.  Read more…

Hillsborough tributes join Museum of Liverpool collection

14 April 2016 by Laura

Two people and painting

Artist Christian Hook and actress Sue Johnston with the painting

Two new objects, which have recently joined the Museum of Liverpool’s collection, have gone on display to mark the 27th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy (15 April). Read more…

Open House

13 April 2016 by Megan

The latest art exhibition at Sudley House by a group service users from Mersey Care NHS Trust is called ‘House’ and has been inspired by what the term ‘house’ means to them. Read more…

House of Memories Armed Forces Days

13 April 2016 by Mitty

A suitcase containing objects associated with the Army such as a kit bag, documents and Army Dress cap

Army themed memory suitcase

For the last few months I’ve been working on a very exciting new project in connection with the Museum of Liverpool’s award winning House of Memories. The programme has helped thousands of healthcare professionals and family members increase their understanding of how to support people with dementia to live well with dementia.

My role is to work with the Armed Forces community to develop a new strand of House of Memories, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant. This has involved a great deal of consultation with people to ensure we are making the experience as relevant as possible.  Read more…

Why do we treasure Treasure?

12 April 2016 by Liz

Roman coins

The Roman Treasures of Cheshire, on display at the Museum of Liverpool until 19 June, are two examples of deliberately buried hoards of precious objects – hidden for safekeeping and never collected.

The Malpas Hoard consists of 7 gold alloy iron age starters and 28 silver alloy Roman denarii.

The Knutsford Hoard consists of 101 silver alloy Roman denarii, two copper alloy Roman sestertii, two finger rings, three gilded silver brooches, and pottery.

Both these groups of objects qualified as ‘Treasure’ under the Treasure Act (1996), being objects or more than 2 coins which are over 10 per cent precious metals. Read more…

Liverpool and the American Civil War

12 April 2016 by Sarah Starkey

Photograph of Captain Semmes on board the ship Alabama, 1863.

One of our rare photographs taken on board the Liverpool built Confederate ship Alabama, 1863.

This week sees the anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War on 12th April 1861.  At first glance not a topic that has much to do with Liverpool.  However, because of the economic and global environment of the time, especially the importance to Great Britain of cotton, Liverpool played a major role in the conflict. Read more…

Diverse, thought provoking and celebratory – curating the John Moores Painting Prize

11 April 2016 by Lisa

Jurors discussing the paintings during stage 2.

Jurors discussing the paintings during stage 2.

The final stage of judging for the John Moores Painting Prize drew to a close last week, so I caught up with artist and juror Phoebe Unwin, to get an insight into the judging and her thoughts on the final exhibition:

What has it been like for you during the final stage of judging?

It was a full-on couple of days, looking long and hard at each work… I don’t think I have ever been in a room surrounded by so many paintings! Read more…

Picture Palaces of Liverpool

8 April 2016 by Anne

The Reel Stories exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool focuses on original film posters and memorabilia to celebrate Liverpool’s role in films over the past 60 years. Alongside this, the exhibition also includes a large panel which reproduces a selection of Stewart Bale images that highlight some of Liverpool’s and the surrounding area’s, more sumptuous picture palaces of the past; built in the hey-day of cinema-going, these buildings often matched the glamour of the silver screen, with many constructed in the sleek lines of modern Art Deco architecture.

Black and white photo of cinema

Paramount, London Road (1934)

Included in the display of Bale images is this one of the Paramount Theatre cinema, London Road, Liverpool (1934). It is a night shot commissioned by Boro Electric Signs, Manchester during the year of its completion, to record the neon lighting which brings the Art Deco defining lines into brilliant life.  Read more…

Remembering some remarkable women

7 April 2016 by Sam

rows of headstones in Arlington National Cemetery

© Lee Karen Stow

Photographer Lee Karen Stow has travelled to Washington DC in America for the latest stage of research for her ongoing Poppies: Women and War project. She has met and photographed many women on her travels and was also keen to pay tribute to those who are no longer with us. This brought her to Arlington National Cemetary, as she explains:

“At Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC, the final resting place for more than 400,000 military service people and veterans, a handful of notable women are buried. Read more…

What happened in the Ceramics Gallery during the Blitz?

7 April 2016 by Emma Martin

Museum staff picking up the pieces in the ceramics gallery after the Blitz

Museum staff picking up the pieces in the ceramics gallery after the Blitz

Lolo is working on the development of an on-line exhibition that explores what happened to World Museum during the Blitz. Here is his second blog, looking at the fate of the ceramics gallery.

The ceramics gallery was one of the galleries that suffered serious damage during the Blitz of May 1941. Rare pieces from the museum’s collection were still on display on the night of 3 May and as the museum crumbled many of the ceramics shattered into pieces. Read more…



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.

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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.