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Posts tagged with 'collections'

Focus on: ‘Sunday morning’ by Alma-Tadema

21 October 2016 by Simon Birtall


Sunday Morning, Alma-Tadema

With the recent rediscovery of a ‘lost’ work by Dutch artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow it brought to mind another overlooked treasure by Alma-Tadema. Read more…

“How did the ship get into the bottle?!”

17 October 2016 by Rebecca

'Leader' model sailing ship in a bottle

As a child I first came across ships in bottles at my late uncle’s house. He used to make them and I remember being fascinated about how the ship ended up in the bottle. Now as Curator of the ship models collection, the Museum’s ships in bottles still evokes the same fascination and intrigue.

The maritime art of making ships in bottles can be traced back as early as the 18th century. Read more…

The Shipping Gallery at Liverpool Museum

4 October 2016 by Emma Martin

A model ship with sails being studied by two young boys in school uniform

The Leader model was the museum’s first ship model, acquired in 1862 for the Mayer Museum, the predecessor of Liverpool (now World) Museum.

In the final blog in our series on World Museum and the Blitz I asked Rebecca, Curator of Maritime History at the Merseyside Maritime Museum to tell us about the development of the now lost Shipping Gallery which was once described as “the department which probably holds the greatest public interest, particularly for the citizens of Liverpool” Read more…

Sheep and Lambs celebrate their 150th birthday at Sudley!

21 September 2016 by Simon Birtall

painting of sheep in a field

‘Sheep and Lambs’ by Rosa Bonheur, currently on display at Sudley House

One of the joys of working at, and visiting, Sudley House is the chance to see, nestling amongst paintings by the likes of Turner, Gainsborough and Reynolds, paintings by a number of 19th century artists less familiar to the average visitor, but whose work and personal stories I often find both surprising and inspiring.

George Holt, the 19th century ship owner and philanthropist whose collection of artwork Sudley is home to, saw it as his duty to support contemporary British artists. Read more…

Selim Aga: African-born explorer

30 August 2016 by Zachary

Nupe gown from Bida collected by Selim Aga in about 1857 (

Nupe gown from Bida collected by Selim Aga in about 1857 (

After Liverpool Museum opened in its new building on William Brown Street in October 1860 (now World Museum), the first five African artefacts it acquired a month later were purchased from the African-born explorer Selim Aga. Aga acquired these five artefacts in the interior of Nigeria on the voyage of the Dayspring. You can find out more about Selim Aga and see the items he collected in our new Selim Aga online collection.

The Niger Expedition ship the Dayspring, built at Lairds in Birkenhead 1857.

The Niger Expedition ship the Dayspring, built at Lairds in Birkenhead 1857.

But the objects in this group only hint at Aga’s remarkable life as an explorer. Read more…

Getting dressed in the 18th century

3 August 2016 by Lynn

Mrs Paine and her Daughters (1975), Sir Joshua Reynolds (c) National Museums Liverpool

Mrs Paine and her Daughters (1975), Sir Joshua Reynolds (c) National Museums Liverpool

Costume curator Pauline Rushton explores what it was like for women to get dressed in the 18th century.

“Getting ourselves dressed in the morning is one of the everyday things we all take for granted, along with brushing our hair and our teeth. But what would it feel like to have someone else dress you every day? In the 18th century, provided you had enough money and could afford to pay servants, that would be the norm, especially if you were a woman. In any case, clothes could be so complicated that you wouldn’t be able to get into them easily without someone else’s assistance. Ideas about privacy and intimacy were different then too – it was normal to be touched by a servant if they were helping you wash or dress.

Read more…

Our classical collections feature in Biennial exhibition at Tate Liverpool

27 July 2016 by Andrew

Ancient Greece episode at Tate Liverpool

Ancient Greece episode at Tate Liverpool

In April, we told you about Chrissy Partheni, Curator of Antiquities at World Museum and her involvement with this year’s Biennial in Liverpool – read it here. Working alongside curators at Tate Liverpool and Biennial, we were able to loan objects from our classical collections, in particular from Henry Blundell’s sculptural collections, forming part of the Biennial Ancient Greece Episode exhibition there. Chrissy says: Read more…

When Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun met Emma Hamilton

9 July 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…

A teacher’s view at the Lady Lever Art Gallery

8 July 2016 by Ann

Warm up drawing exercises on gallery in a Draw to Explore sessionAre you an Early Years practitioner or Primary or Secondary teacher? Why not start the next academic year by joining the Education team at the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight on Wednesday 7 September, 4 – 6pm for our Teachers’ view event Read more…

The centenary of the Somme battles

30 June 2016 by Karen O'Rourke

old photo of a young man in uniform

Portrait photograph postcard of Private Harry Grace, King’s Regiment. Written on the reverse, ‘Signaller Harry Grace, Killed in France 1st July 1916, 18th Service K.L.R. “Pals” (2nd Batt).’ Private Harry Grace was a scoutmaster and prominent member of Richmond Baptist Youth Group. He was 19 when he was killed by a shell at the Somme.

One hundred years ago this week, on 1 July 1916, British Forces suffered their worst casualties ever in one single day. Communities all over Britain will come together on Friday 1 July to commemorate the anniversary of what is often called, ‘the bloodiest day in British military history’. At the Museum of Liverpool our latest exhibition First World War: Charity and Liverpool’s Home Front, looks at some of the organisations that were instrumental in helping both the casualties who came home from the war, and also the families of the men who did not.

That first day of the Somme saw 19,240 British men killed in action, a further 40,000 were wounded or taken prisoner. The British front line stretched from Gommecourt to Maricourt – around 18 miles of trenches. South of Maricourt, the French Army held the line. The battle was a tactical one, meant to divert German troops from a much larger battle, being fought against the French further east at Verdun.  Read more…

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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.