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Hanging around in the Walker

17 August 2009 by Sam

As regular visitors will realise, there are always small changes taking place within our galleries, even in the ‘permanent’ displays, as objects do occasionally get removed for loans or conservation treatment. An example is the painting ‘Elaine’ painted by Sophie Anderson, which is going to be included in the exhibition ‘The Rise of Women Artists’ at the Walker from 23 October 2009. Framing conservator Roy Irlam is using this opportunity to address particular areas of the painting’s framework, as access to this painting has been difficult due to its high position on the gallery wall. You can see photos of the de-installation in our Moving stories Flickr set. Handling and transport technician Paula Frew explains just how this large painting was safely removed from display below.


two men in hard heights lifting a painting with ropes and pulleys

Installing ‘Daniel in the Lion’s Den’ in the Walker

“The handling and transport team use specialised equipment for paintings at this height which include a block and tackle system used to elevate and lower paintings. Each block and tackle section is equipped to take a safe working load of 250kg which are suspended from a lifting strap (SWL 1000kgs) which is attached to a load bearing picture rail.

Another piece of equipment which is an old favourite of the team’s goes by the fanciful name of ‘Airwolf’. It’s a gas operated hydraulic lift that enables technicians to access the heights needed to reach the galleries picture rails. Read more…

More moving stories from the handling and transport team

14 August 2009 by Sam

Two men lifting a large model house

When they handling team say they’re moving houses they usually mean literally!

As I’ve mentioned many times before, there’s never a dull moment for the handling and transport team. Since I last reported on their activities they have safely transported a huge variety of objects from our collections, including ship models, paintings, a stained glass window and some Hindu Gods (well, sculptures of them, anyway). Some have been moved from storage to the conservation studios for treatment and back again, other objects have been gone on or off display and a few have ben loaned to other organisations. Read more…

My hour as a sculpture

10 August 2009 by Sam

Nelson's Column and fountains in Trafalgar Square

My view of Trafalgar Square from the Fourth Plinth

It’s my first day back in work after a short break today, and I feel that I’ve returned with a whole new level of understanding of the works of art that I promote on the blog and website. For while I was off I did more than just DIY and sunbathing. I actually experienced what it feels like to be a work of art myself when I spent an hour on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square as part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other project. One hour, one plinth, one Sam. Read more…

Shoot Me, Rankin!

23 July 2009 by Laura

Photo shoot

Rankin’s studio at World Museum Liverpool

The bold and beautiful people of Liverpool called into World Museum Liverpool last Thursday to have their portrait taken by the acclaimed photographer Rankin.

For those who don’t know the name you will certainly know his work as there doesn’t seem to be a member of the glitterati he has not photographed. However it was “ordinary” scousers under the lens last week, as part of the Shoot Me, Rankin! project to photograph 1,000 people and form a portrait of modern Britain. Read more…

Keep on smiling

17 July 2009 by Richard

crowd in front of the Mona Lisa

Hello there

Thank you to everybody who voted for the International Slavery Museum in The National Lottery Good Causes Awards. We find out if we have made it through to the final on 3 August so watch this space. If we do make it through to the live TV show then I’ll have to get my suit down to Johnson’s, dig out my Homer Simpson tie and practice my TV smile!

Talking of smiles (now that is a good link) I saw the most famous in the world recently whilst I was on a weekend break to Paris. We spent nearly a whole day in the Louvre and ‘tried’ to get a close look at Leonardo Da Vinci’s ’Mona Lisa’ or ‘La Gioconda’ (an alternative title as the sitter is probably the wife of an Italian merchant called Francesco del Giocondo). As you can see from the picture the Mona Lisa draws crowds of visitors most museums can only dream of. It really is a sight to behold although there is hardly any room to stand and admire the picture as people are busy barging past. As a museum professional I am almost as interested in the behavior of the visitor as much as the collections themselves though. Don’t expect to be able to stand in front of her and act like an art connoisseur but still worth the effort if you ever visit. Read more…

Welcome Return

9 July 2009 by Laura

Three men hanging painting

John Lee’s Sweetheart and Wives (1860) makes way for paintings returning from Stockholm

Regular visitors to the Walker Art Gallery may have missed some familiar faces from the Pre-Raphaelite room in recent months. Such is the enduring popularity of the Pre-Raphaelites that from time to time our works go travelling around the world on loan to other galleries. This time it was to an exhibition at Nationalmuseum Stockholm, but I’m happy to tell you they are now back where they belong.

You may well be seeing even more of one the returning works, Lorenzo and Isabella, as it is featured in the new BBC drama Desperate Romantics. Read more…

Sewing up your emotions

2 July 2009 by Lisa

Piece of cloth with embroidered letters: 'I keep believing in you'

Tracey Emin, In You, 2009. Embroidered cotton. 13 9/16 x 16 1/8 in. (34.5 x 41 cm) © the artist. Photo: Stephen White. Courtesy White Cube.

She might ignite controversy wherever she goes, but Tracey Emin’s artwork – particularly her sewn work – has an amazing skill that often seems to be overlooked. I checked out her latest exhibition ‘Those who suffer Love’ at the White Cube in London , which showed a range of neons, drawings and several sewn pieces.

Even if you don’t ‘get’ what she is trying to say, I think you’d have to try pretty hard to not appreciate the skill involved in sewing what looks like a sketched drawing on a six-foot piece of cloth. You get up close and there are hundreds of small and precise stitches which create something that appears to be quite devil-may-care. One of the tiniest pieces of cloth seemed to hold the most emotion – a sewn ‘sketch’ of a kneeling figure, with the words ‘no, no, no, no’ stitched above it.  Read more…

The world of the Peaceful Dragon

30 April 2009 by Richard

photo of tree blossom overhanging the wall of a gravel garden

Ryoanji Zen garden

Konichiwa

Well I am back at work after my break in Japan, as interesting and exciting a destination as I have ever visited. It really is a mix of the old and the new and this cannot be better personified than the city of Kyoto. I spent 5 days in Tokyo, truly a metropolis of bright lights, fashionistas and the latest gadgetry but Kyoto – what some call the cultural heart of Japan – is where the clash of worlds is most obvious. As soon as you step off the Bullet train you enter Kyoto’s futuristic looking plate glass and steel frame rail station building designed by Hiroshi Hara. The Bullet train really is as efficient as you are told and quite a shock for someone used to British trains when your reserved carriage actually stops in front of you and on time. I can only hope a contingent of British rail carriers executives have their next annual conference in Japan and invite the CEO of Japan Rail as the keynote! The area around the station has hotels, offices and shops aplenty like most major cities but scratch under the surface and there lies a hidden world of temples and Zen gardens of all shapes and descriptions. Read more…

Hooray Henry

2 April 2009 by Dawn

A large bearded man wearing fine Tudor garments standing with legs astride

King Henry in formidable form

 

I recently watched the film adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ – I can’t say I enjoyed the mixing of fact with fiction, but it made me think about how much speculation, debate and gossip Henry VIII has drummed up in the 500 years since he became King. I am sure he would absolutely thrilled that his reputation is still thriving in the 21st century due to his larger-than-life character, ill-fated marriages and the major decisions he made that have shaped the history of the country (not to mention a million documentaries and dramatisations). Any publicity is good publicity, right?

 

Henry was declared king in April 1509 and just about everywhere up and down the country with a Henry connection is marking the occasion. I am desperate to get to Hampton Court for the Henry VIII: Heads and Hearts exhibition, as well as the Dressed to Kill at The Tower of London and Man & Monarch at the British Library. Infuriatingly I’m missing out on the Great Recreation of Tudor Life at Kentwell Hall this summer which will be focused on the Henrican year of 1535. (Look out for Kentwell on Channel 5′s ‘I own Britain’s Best Home’). Read more…

Quiffs, Riffs and Tiffs

20 February 2009 by Dawn

We billed The Beat Goes on exhibition ‘from The Beatles to the Zutons’, but has anyone heard of ‘from The Hollies to the Happy Mondays’? That’s what you’ll find if you take a trip to the other end of the East Lancs Road, to Salford Museum & Art Gallery. They’re currently showing Quiffs, Riffs and Tiffs – a small but perfectly formed exhibition about the music scene in Salford.

I spent a happy hour there a few weeks ago and thought there were a few gems to be seen. Top of the list for me were notes by Morrissey and Johnny Marr – with Salford Lads Club getting its rightful mention. There’s also handwritten lyrics to Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Teach Your Children, signed by one of my all time idols,  Graham Nash. There are some childhood pictures of Graham at his home in Salford, before his success with The Hollies and later with CS&N stole him from these shores. 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.