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John Moores Painting Prize winner to receive a three-month fellowship

14 November 2017 by Ann Bukantas

The John Moores Painting Prize 2016 exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery

For the first time, to mark the 60th anniversary of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2018, there is a three-part prize awaiting the competition’s first prize-winner. In addition to winning £25,000, the first prize-winning artist will be offered a solo show at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019. In our recent blog, we told you more about this opportunity. Now it’s time to reveal more about the third part of the main prize – a three-month Fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University. Professor Caroline Wilkinson, Director of Liverpool School of Art & Design, tells us more about this:

Liverpool John Moores University is delighted to offer this Fellowship to the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize winner in the 60th anniversary year. The Fellowship will enable the winning artist to visit the School of Art & Design and enhance their working practice through collaboration with other dynamic art professionals, with access to the wonderful resources in the John Lennon Art & Design Building and immersion in a vibrant and creative Higher Education environment. This competition will bring the best contemporary painting to Liverpool and I hope that this will also stimulate the creative juices of our student population, whilst offering inspiration and ambition for their future creative art careers.

We had an opportunity to take a tour of the fantastic facilities that will be on offer to the winner, from studio and display space through to access to workshops with cutting-edge creative equipment. As well as traditional painting-based facilities, the winner will enjoy access to workshops for printmaking, textiles, technology and 3-D model-making – to name but a few. The University will work with the prize-winner to agree on a mutually-convenient time for the Fellowship to take place.

For your opportunity to become the first prize winner, make sure you enter the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize by clicking on this link. The deadline to enter has just been extended, so you have until 12 noon on Monday 20 November 2017 to register.

Entry deadline for £25,000 JM Painting Prize extended

9 November 2017 by Felicity

The John Moores Painting Prize 2014 prizewinners, including first prizewinner Michael Simpson (far right).

The deadline for entries to the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 has been extended to 12 noon on Monday 20 November (enter here). We want to make sure that as many people as possible are able to apply for the Prize in 2018, its 60th year!

This year’s prize is an extra special one. As well as winning £25,000 and the chance to have your painting acquired by the Walker, the winner can look forward to a career-changing solo show at the Gallery and a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, which will be bespoke to the individual. Read more…

Maggi Hambling visits

8 November 2017 by Sarah

‘Good Time George’ by Maggi Hambling. Copyright Maggi Hambling

Contemporary artist Maggi Hambling visited Liverpool today, to give ‘Good Time George’ – her painting of her close friend and Liverpudlian George Melly – to the Walker Art Gallery.

George was the most colourful son of Liverpool: jazz performer, surrealist, comic, raconteur, critic and author, often referred to fondly as ‘Good Time George’.

He came from a well-known Liverpool family and grew up in South Liverpool. Born in 1926, he was educated at Stow and could entertain, fascinate and outrage – often all at the same time. Remaining a frequent visitor to Liverpool throughout his life, George actively supported the city’s arts. In 1997 he sat on the jury for the John Moores Painting Prize, which culminates in an exhibition of contemporary painting at the Walker Art Gallery every two years.

Maggi Hambling is one of Britain’s foremost and well known contemporary artists. In 2014 she made her return to the National Gallery, where she was their first Artist in Residence in 1980, with the exhibition Walls of Water. Earlier this year, Touch at the British Museum was an important retrospective of her works on paper and its accompanying book includes drawings of George Melly. Her latest series of paintings and sculpture, Edge, was shown at Marlborough Fine Art earlier this year, and her painting of Michael Jackson will be included in the National Portrait Gallery’s On the Wall exhibition next year.

Hambling’s work is held in many public collections, including Tate, British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. ‘Good Time George’ is the first of the artist’s paintings to be added to the Walker Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

About the painting 

Maggi Hambling. Photograph by Douglas Atfield

Maggi Hambling and George Melly were close friends.

Maggi Hambling said: “George often makes a grand appearance in my dreams. I still hear him laugh, tell jokes and sing. From wherever he may be…”

Maggi painted and drew George from life, and posthumously. He said she would go down in art history as “Maggi (Coffin) Hambling”, referring to her practice of drawing and painting people on their deathbeds and afterwards.

Hambling and Melly met while lying on the path at a garden party and at once became friends. They then worked together in the early 1980s when he chaired the cult Channel 4 arts quiz, ‘Gallery’, in which Hambling was one of the two team captains. In 1998, Hambling was commissioned by the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery to paint Melly’s portrait.

This is an important return to the Walker Art Gallery for the ‘Good Time George’ portrait, which was first displayed at the gallery in 2009 in an exhibition of more than 20 paintings and drawings titled George Always: Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries at National Museums Liverpool, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Maggi for giving the painting to the Walker Art Gallery and to the City: Liverpool feels like its natural home. This gift marks a long relationship between artist, Gallery, George and Liverpool, and her work will be a significant addition to the Walker’s important collection of contemporary painting. I’m sure it will be hugely popular with our visitors.”

You can find out more on our website

Coming Out – closing celebrations

2 November 2017 by Felicity

Coming Out closes on Sunday 5 November

On Saturday 5 November we bid a fond farewell to Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity, our groundbreaking exhibition featuring artworks by David Hockney, Steve McQueen, Anya Gallaccio and Sarah Lucas among many others.

The artists represented have used their work to explore sexuality and gender identity since 1967, after the passing of the Sexual Offences Act, which marked the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales. Read more…

Celebrating 60 Years of the John Moores Painting Prize

23 October 2017 by Ann Bukantas

We’re celebrating the 60th anniversary of the John Moores Painting Prize in 2018 with something very special. For the first time, the winner of the competition’s first prize will be offered a solo show at the Walker Art Gallery, as well as the £25,000 cash prize and a three month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University.

Read more…

Last chance to see Alphonse Mucha’s iconic poster designs at the Walker

20 October 2017 by Felicity

Original poster designs featuring the actress Sarah Bernhardt are on show in the exhibition

Iconic illustrative posters by one of the most influential artists of the Art Nouveau movement can be seen for a limited time at the Walker Art Gallery. Read more…

Competition: Win an Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty exhibition catalogue

10 October 2017 by Cath Hurley

We are now in the final few weeks of the Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty exhibition, which ends here at the Walker Art Gallery on 29 October. Read more…

LGBTQ+ Youth Take Pride in Your Identity

9 October 2017 by Angelica

When we decided to create an embedded engagement space within the Coming Out exhibition, we were hoping that it would be used by individuals and groups to bring their voices and perspectives to the exhibition. It’s been wonderful to see the potential of this space realised through over 30 events programmed as part of Coming Out – many inspired and led by members of LGBT+ communities.

Read more…

National Museums Liverpool is out and proud!

27 July 2017 by Andrew

National Museums Liverpool’s Pride banner

We commemorate the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality this week with the opening of the exhibition Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity at the Walker Art Gallery. The exhibition brings together a diverse range of artists who have used their work to explore sexuality and gender identity since 1967. Read more…

The sun always shines at National Museums Liverpool!

24 July 2017 by Megan

Six long weeks to fill and entertain the kids is looming. But National Museums Liverpool has a fun-filled summer of events and activities planned for the whole family so there is no excuse to feel bored!

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.