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Bootle’s May Queen

2 May 2016 by Laura

Girl in white dress

Edna May Fairweather, 1931

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow ’ll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year,—
Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;
For I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

Read more…

Art and the Sea gallery rehang now on display

29 April 2016 by Sam Vaux

Painting of Vittoria Docks in Birkenhead, Wirral

Vittoria Docks, Birkenhead, Wirral, 1919, John Worsley © the artist’s estate

The Art and the Sea gallery at the Merseyside Maritime Museum has been a hive of activity this week with a rehang of a collection of fourteen maritime paintings; some from the existing collection or only rarely displayed, and one which hasn’t been on public display before. Curator of Maritime Art, Rebecca Smith reveals the history behind some of these works.

Liverpool in its heyday caused it to be regarded as a mecca for those with maritime aspirations of any sort’, Sam Davidson, maritime art historian

Read more…

Don Pedro: the elephant that died twice

22 April 2016 by Emma Martin

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

Don Pedro (the elephant) standing proud at the centre of the Upper Horseshoe Gallery before 3 May 1941

University of Manchester student Lolo is working on our new online exhibition that will be launched 3 May. Here’s his latest blog on some of the objects and specimens that feature in it.

“Many of you may already know that the King of Prussia Jug was one of the Blitz survivors. But not all the stories relating to the museum’s objects and specimens had a happy ending. There were also hundreds if not thousands of casualties. I was very upset when we heard about the sad story of Don Pedro, a male Indian elephant once in the zoology collection. They say cats have nine lives, but poor Don Pedro had just two. Read more…

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…

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…

Picture Palaces of Liverpool

8 April 2016 by Anne

Black and white photo of cinema

Paramount, London Road (1934)

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. 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…

Simeon Solomon’s ‘Mystery of Faith’

6 April 2016 by Lisa

Mystery of Faith', Simeon Solomon.

‘Mystery of Faith’, Simeon Solomon.

Pride and Prejudice Project Researcher, Lynn Wray, gives her opinion on why Simeon Solomon’s ‘Mystery of Faith’, best encapsulates the spirit of ‘Beauty and Rebellion’ in the Walker Art Gallery’s exhibition exploring Liverpool’s role in the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

“Simeon Solomon was both famously beautiful and infamously rebellious. Born in London in 1840, he became particularly attracted to Christian themes despite his Jewish upbringing. Read more…

Exploring the different worlds of our classical sculpture collections

4 April 2016 by Andrew

The Pantheon at Ince Blundell Hall

The Pantheon at Ince Blundell Hall

Chrissy Partheni, Curator of Classical Antiquities at World Museum talks about her involvement with two upcoming exhibitions taking place in the city this summer.

“Last summer the Atkinson Art Gallery and the Liverpool Biennial approached me to discuss potential loans from the classical sculptural collections to feature in two exhibitions planned for this summer. One exhibition will be about Henry Blundell, the 18th century antiquarian and collector, while the other, taking place at Tate Liverpool, is to be inspired by Ancient Greece. 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.

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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.