Our venues


Posts tagged with 'decorative arts'

Volunteer blog: photography fun!

27 January 2012 by Lisa

It’s great to hear that volunteering at National Museums Liverpool can really be a memorable experience for those involved. Here’s a blog by a recent volunteer who helped out in our Photography and Decorative Art departments…

Adrian in the Decorative Arts store

Adrian in the Decorative Arts store

My name is Adrian Foo-Gibney and for the last two weeks I have been on a Year 10 work placement with National Museums Liverpool. During my time here I have learnt many skills, ranging from hands-on skills like photography to communication skills. This was a great experience for me as I got along with all the members of staff and had fun as well as learning. Everyone was really friendly and made me feel comfortable.

During my first week in Photography I worked with David Flower. He taught me many skills and gave me lots of tips about photography. The things I learnt were really useful, as back in school I have taken the GCSE photography course. It will also help with my personal photographic skills.

I was given many jobs during the first week, including photographing hats, processing images and scanning negatives ready for editing.

In the second week I worked with Alyson Pollard in Decorative Arts where I got to work with my friend Joseph Evans who is also from my school, Calderstones. We worked together photographing men’s hats and suits and inputted all the data for them.

I have enjoyed my time working with the National Museums Liverpool and it was a privilege to be here. I would like to do a similar job when I leave school. This has been an amazing adventure for me and I will remember this placement for ages. Read more…

Desperate Sudley Wives

12 December 2011 by Stephen

Big dress


Sudley House in Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was the home of Victorian shipowner George Holt who amassed a huge fortune as one of the proprietors of Lamport & Holt.


Despite his wealth, he was a modest man who did not go in for lavish entertainment. He was married with one daughter and the family were not ones to splash the cash on themselves.


In fact, they were among Liverpool’s greatest philanthropists and gave away most of what they acquired – including Sudley House. Read more…

Men in hats!

15 August 2011 by Lisa

Which country do you think is the most stylish? France? Italy? Japan? We reckon that Spain should be giving the rest of the world some pointers after seeing this fashionable crew of students who recently came to visit our Finishing Touch exhibition!

A group of male students in ladies hats

They would fit right in at the races, wouldn’t they?

The group visits Liverpool and the surrounding area every year and they decided to really get in the spirit of the exhibition by trying on the hats that are in the exhibition’s resource area. We think they look fab!

They were staying in the region for a month as part of an English language program and cultural experience and told our Curator of Decorative Arts, Alyson Pollard, that they thoroughly enjoyed their visit and are looking forward to coming back again soon. Read more…

We need photos of your flares!

10 August 2011 by Lisa

People in 1970s clothes

Lovely 1970s gear!

Ah flares. Make mine high-waisted in a dark blue denim please, with sailor-style buttons! (I still can’t quite say goodbye to my skinny jeans though.) Our upcoming exhibition at the Walker, ‘Feather cuts and flares’, will also be embracing 70s fashion by showing costume including bohemian pieces and shimmering glam rock platforms.

The clothes are ready to go on show but Dave Moffat, our Assistant Curator of Decorative Art, is on the look out for images to be used in the exhibition. Read more…

Experiencing the world of museum work!

11 July 2011 by volunteer

Work experience student carrying our administration work in office

Caitlin busy during her work experience.

Caitlin from Chesterfield High School is currently in the middle of her work experience at National Museums Liverpool. Below, Caitlin tells us what she has done so far…

“My name is Caitlin, during my two week work experience I have been in many departments in National Museums Liverpool. I wanted to do my work experience here because I’m interested in history and wanted to see if a career in museums was for me. As well as learning new skills in the office, which will be useful for me in the future; I have taken part in meetings regarding upcoming exhibitions and spent a day in Decorative Arts, where I handled objects and witnessed the problems and work that goes into creating a new exhibition. Read more…


7 July 2011 by Eleanor

Telescopic handheld fan

 Chinese Export Hand-held Fan

National Museums Liverpool’s conservation studios have been a hive of activity over the past few months, as conservators have been busy preparing objects for the new Museum of Liverpool, which opens in just 12 days’ time. 

Recently I have been lucky enough to conserve a number of handheld fans which will be exhibited in the new museum’s Global City gallery.  When I found out that I would be conserving fans, I expected to encounter paper and perhaps some plastic or wooden sticks, but I was in for a much bigger treat!  Lacquer, ivory, tortoiseshell, silk, feathers, gold pigment and mother of pearl were just some of the materials that I came across.  Read more…

A helping hand in the dec arts department

3 June 2011 by Lisa

Here’s Caitlin Allan, one of our most recent volunteers, talking about her work experience in the Decorative Arts Department…

Caitlin in the Decorative Arts stores

My name is Caitlin and I have had my work experience at National Museums Liverpool for two weeks. In the first week I visited the Lady Lever Art Gallery for the first time. I was shown around the gallery and learned a lot about the story of the gallery and its collections. I was then asked to choose three pieces from the gallery that really caught my eye and to do some research on them and write up my findings. Read more…

These boots were made for walking…

6 May 2011 by Lisa

When shopping for footwear, there is nothing more satisfying than getting a new pair of boots. This vintage brown leather pair that I’m wearing today are a particular favourite of mine – you can see them here – a bit Victorian I like to think!

So you can imagine my excitement at being introduced to this fab pair of boots, which will be on display later this month at the Lady Lever Art Gallery. They will be shown as part of ‘The Finishing Touch’, an exhibition of women’s accessories from our collections, dating from 1830-1940. Read more…

British art gets a make-over at the Walker

21 March 2011 by Lisa

It’s a very exciting week this week as the newly refurbished room at the Walker Art Gallery, ‘British art 1880-1950’, is opening again on Friday. It will showcase pieces from our collections including works by LS Lowry and Lucian Freud, plus many works which have never been on display before!

I had a chat with our curator of British art, Laura MacCulloch, who told me more about what you can expect to see there:

Tell me about the different types of works which are being brought together in this room?

This work brings together paintings, sculptures and works on paper with furniture and ceramics all made between 1880 and 1950.  It’s a really exciting period to explore as artists begin to break away from the traditional, Victorian ideas about art and experiment with styles, colours and techniques. It’s great to be able to show fine and decoratvie arts together because it shows how artists working in all media experimented.

How does this room differ from the more ‘standard’ rooms of paintings in the Walker?

We are aiming to give our visitors more of the context surrounding the art. Between 1880 and 1950 there were huge political and social upheavals brought on by two world wars and increasing industrialisation. We have created an interactive timeline which includes lots of information and images relating to key historical and art historical events. There is more information on the timeline than we could ever fit on a label. Read more…

The Perks of Conserving a Wall Sconce

28 January 2011 by Eleanor

Now that I have completed the first quarter of my ICON and Heritage Lottery Funded internship in Objects Conservation and Public Engagement at the National Conservation Centre, I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite bits so far! 

Last October I started conserving a nineteenth century ceramic Wall Sconce.  “Wall Sconce?”  I hear you cry?  . . . A wall sconce is usually a bracket, or in this case a decorative ceramic plate with candle holders, which would have once been fixed to a wall to provide indoor lighting.  They must have been a very useful item before the invention of the electric light-bulb.  I have to say that when I first saw the Sconce, covered with bright and colourful floral designs, it certainly wasn’t to my taste!  But nevertheless my duty of care and curiosity quickly dismissed my initial dislike of the sickly design, and with the help of the Ceramics and Glass Conservator at the National Conservation Centre I began proposing a conservation treatment plan.  The plan was to carefully clean away thick black surface dirt which covered the ceramic surface and also to create a removable plaster fill, to complete a large v-shaped chip which was missing from one of the Sconce’s candle holders.  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.

Award-winning blog

corpcomms awards winner logo




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.