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Kim Cattrall at the Walker Art Gallery

16 January 2018 by Felicity

Image of Kim Cattrall following a recent in-conversation event hosted by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres

Kim Cattrall at a recent in-conversation event hosted by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres

We’re incredibly excited to be able to reveal that a very special painting will soon be joining our collection at the Walker Art Gallery!

The winner of this year’s Sky Portrait Artist of the Year will receive a £10,000 commission to paint the actress Kim Cattrall, with the painting set to hang here at the gallery.

The series, presented by Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner, airs on Sky Arts tonight. We can’t wait to see which talented artists have been selected to compete for the commission.

We’re particularly thrilled that the painting will be of Kim, who was born in Liverpool’s Mossley Hill. She moved to Canada at three months of age, before returning to stay with family at the age of 11. She moved back to Canada to finish high school when she was 16.

Kim has fond memories of visiting our museums and galleries as a child, and also of being inspired by watching theatre here in the city. She famously went on to play the role of Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool’s Playhouse theatre back in 2010. Kim is perhaps best known for playing the role of Samantha Jones in Sex in the City.

More than 1,000 artists from across the UK applied for the show this year. From small, delicate studies to large-scale, full-body canvases in oil, watercolour, pastels, charcoal, pencil and even collage – the series will see a whole host of different takes on the classic artistic challenge of portraiture.

The three chosen finalists will face the challenge of commissions to paint the eminent designer Kenneth Grange, iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and bestselling author, international superstar and Spice Girl Geri Horner, with portraits to hang at the Design Museum, the Fashion and Textile Museum and the British Music Experience. The overall winner will receive the commission to paint Kim’s portrait.

We’ll be watching the series with great excitement and can’t wait to share more news about the portrait over the coming months!

A painting through time – Burd Helen

11 January 2018 by Ann Bukantas

‘Burd Helen’ by William Lindsay Windus

Since our painting ‘Burd Helen’, painted in 1856 by William Lindsay Windus, featured in the recent BBC2 programme ‘A House Through Time’, we’ve been flooded with questions. Presented by David Olusoga, the programme revealed that the male character in the painting was a portrait of a man called Wilfred Steele.

Was this a new discovery? Did we already know who the sitter was? What was the source that David Olusoga mentioned?
Read more…

Behind the scenes of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018

11 January 2018 by Alex Patterson

Alex Patterson at her desk working

Alex Patterson, Assistant Curator of Fine Art

I’m thrilled to be working on the John Moores Painting Prize while it celebrates its 60th Anniversary! I’m Assistant Curator of Fine Art for National Museums Liverpool and this year I have joined the Prize’s Project Manager, Katherine Lloyd, to oversee various stages of the competition.

Read more…

John Moores Painting Prize juries

29 December 2017 by Ann Bukantas

John Moores 2014 jury look at the eventual first Prizewinner, Rose Wylie’s entry during stage two judging

We often get asked about the juries for the John Moores Painting Prize. How are they selected and what is their role?

Read more…

A fashion statement

18 December 2017 by Mannika Dhadwal

We’re super excited to announce that The Singh Twins will be exhibiting their new works Slaves of Fashion at the Walker Art Gallery, opening January 19 – 20 May.

Exploring the history of Indian textiles, Empire, enslavement and luxury consumerism, and the contemporary relevance of these issues in the world today, the exhibition focuses on the relationship between Britain and India. Hidden details of Europe’s colonial past and its legacies are uncovered, including current debates around ethical trade and responsible consumerism.

Paintings by The Singh Twins

Left Indigo: The Colour of India                          Right The King is Dead: Long Live the King ©The Singh Twins: www.singhtwins.co.uk

Read more…

John Moores Prizewinners

15 December 2017 by Ann Bukantas

Past winners include Peter Doig (left wall) and Jack Smith (far wall)

Whilst the recent entries to the 2018 John Moores Painting Prize are being prepared for the first stages of judging which will take place early in the new year, we’ve prepared a re-display of some of the works by past first prize winners that opens this weekend at the Walker Art Gallery. The display celebrates of 60 years of the John Moores Painting Prize and includes works since the first competition in 1957.

Read more…

Lubaina Himid wins the Turner Prize 2017!

6 December 2017 by Felicity

Lubaina Himid (far right) on a recent visit to the Walker, with Ann Bukantas (far left), Head of Fine Art, and Sandra Penketh (centre), Director of Art Galleries

Last night we heard the wonderful news that Lubaina Himid is the winner of the Turner Prize 2017. We were thrilled to hear of her well-deserved win, having worked closely with the artist over a number of years.

Visitors might remember Lubaina’s Jelly Mould Pavilions that were displayed at Sudley House back in 2010, or perhaps you’ve seen her work on show as part of our current display, Lubaina Himid: Meticulous Observations and Naming the Money. Read more…

Finishing touches to Murillo

5 December 2017 by Olympia Diamond

Installation of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory at the walker Art Gallery

Installation of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory (1673) at the Walker Art Gallery

The practical treatment of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s altarpiece Virgin and Child in Glory (1673) finished in August, marking the end of a year-long major conservation project, which you can track in my previous blog posts.

The final phase of treatment involved retouching damages and losses on the oil sketch and Virgin and Child in Glory (1673).

The dramatic history of the painting, including the cutting and removal of the central section of the Madonna and Child, meant that two pieces from the same artwork had separate histories, and thus visually aged differently.

Read more…

Our advent calendar is going to the dogs!

30 November 2017 by Sam

advent calendar illustration of a winter scene with Liverpool landmarks

With Christmas approaching it’s time for one of my favourite annual traditions – the unveiling of National Museums Liverpool’s free online advent calendar! Each year we ease you into the festive season with daily treats from our collections and displays, including a few surprises, incredible tales and fascinating facts along the way.

Last year’s advent calendar featured cats from our museums and galleries, so to restore balance to the universe, the theme for 2017 is dogs. Read more…

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.
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.