Hidden treasures on display for the first time at the Walker

5 February 2018 by Nicola Scott

Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins has just opened at the Walker Art Gallery, and thanks to this unique collaboration between National Museums Liverpool and The Singh Twins, you can see some star objects that have never been on display before!

It is not new for artists to take inspiration from museum collections, but what is different is the extent of The Singh Twins’ research. They have viewed hundreds of objects, which have contributed to many ideas for their artworks.

We began in 2014 when I planned a visit to our stores with the artists. The exhibition tells stories from the history of Indian textiles, so I was looking for items made in India or inspired by Indian design. I was thrilled to discover exquisite hand-embroidered pieces and stunning, woven shawls – I realised these had never before been seen by the public. The Singh Twins went on to work with colleagues in other departments too. The objects they discovered have informed some of the main themes for their artworks, and you can see many referenced within the actual artworks themselves! I was delighted to put some of these on display for the first time in Slaves of Fashion.

A selection of our textiles, jewellery and books on display for the first time

Shawl or ‘Phulkari’, India 19th century

Shawl or ‘Phulkari’, India 19th century

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The grid is the thing

5 February 2018 by Ann Bukantas

Noel Forster’s A Painting in Six Stages with a Silk Triangle (detail)

What unites the paintings in our new display of past John Moores Painting Prize winners since 1957 is of course the fact that they have all won the UK’s most prestigious painting prize, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. But across this diverse group of canvases from different decades, other common links start to emerge, and this week we have mostly been spotting the variety of grids in the room!

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17 March 2018: One-day Conference: Slaves of Fashion: Archives, Art and Ethics

2 February 2018 by Ann

To accompany The Singh Twins’ major new exhibition Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins at the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool and the University of Liverpool School of Histories, Languages and Cultures are hosting a one-day conference, open to the public to explore the issues raised by The Twins’ new artworks.

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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 and 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?
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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.

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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?

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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:

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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.

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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…

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.




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