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The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
The Walker Art Gallery has been standing in Liverpool for over 130 years. It is home to so many wonderful paintings -old and new-, sculptures and crafts. There is even a musical instrument made from an old toilet and some fantastic modern chairs which you are allowed to sit on! You get to experience all this and more in this wonderful art gallery, for absolutely free!
I visited the gallery with my family yesterday, Sunday 16th August, with my family and started writing this review last night when I had been home a couple of hours, so the experience was fresh in my mind.
I've realised that my reviews on this are mainly make up and body products related, so I thought maybe I should review this to get them a bit more varied so there's something everyone will hopefully find interesting. Which is why I chose to review The Walker Art Gallery.
The building itself is grand and cultural, the architecture is beautiful...
The architecture of the building is beautiful, it is a large stone building with columns at the entrance, as well as marble sculptures outside the doors and one on the roof. As soon as you set your eyes on the gallery, you can see it is a very grand building, and when you step inside you're breath is taken away as you what you first see is the most grand ceilings, walls and a wonderful gold staircase.
Liverpool is "European Capital of Culture", this is undoubtably very true, it is a beautiful city full of culture, there are so many sights to see and this art gallery has got to be, in my opinion, one of the best!
I had a surprisingly good time at The Walker Art Gallery, I'm so glad I agreed to let my mum drag me along!
Yesterday morning my mum said to me, "shall we go to Liverpool today?" There were so many reasons I could have had to stay at home - homework, sorting out Avon, etc. But I decided to go along anyway, as I need a bag for school and hoped we might see a cheap one somewhere and she might buy it for me! So this is one of the reasons I went, the other reason is because it was the last day of my dads rare weeks off from work, and he wanted to spend it with the family in Liverpool. Although it was supposed to be my dads day out, it was my mum's choice for us to visit the art gallery.
As we walked to the art gallery, my mum, dad and two little sisters and I that is, I must admit I expected I might find the trip very boring, my feet were tired already from walking around Liverpool, we had taken the ferry earlier that day, walked around an old U-boat brought up from the sea, walked around the shops etc, so all I really wanted to do was sit down for a bit.
As we walked up the steps to the entrance my mum said how she was so excited to go in, as she had been wanting to visit the gallery for years. My sister was saying how she wished she was at home, why can't we go shopping instead, etc.
Since I have absolutely no money at the moment, and am slightly in debt with my mum (long story involving a party being gatecrashed, police and damaged fire extingishers).. since I have no money I didn't really want to have to look at clothes and things and wish I could be buying them, I am a bit of a shopping and spendaholic, usually I would have prefered to go shopping, but yesterday I wasn't too bothered where my mum dragged us off, too.
When we entered the through the big doors, we were in a beautiful hall area with a huge, white and gold staircase...
As we walked from the door to the staircase, a man was handing out leaflets about the gallery, a ground plan map sort of thing, with highlights of the gallery and opening times inside. These leaflets were free, and there were all sorts of booklets around the gallery, in every room there was a book telling you in detail about the paintings, also if you couldn't be bothered to get the whole book out, like me, there are little plaques under each painting telling you all about it, who painted it, the title, when it was painted, what it is about etc.
As we entered we could walk either straight up the staircase to the first floor exhibitions, or we could turn left into a section for kids called 'Big Art'.
Or we could turn right into a room of wonderful sculptures, mainly of people. All the sculptures were incredibly detailed and realistic. Once you are in this room, you can follow through into the next room which is a room of crafts.
When we entered the gallery, we could hear music playing. As we walked up the vast, gold staircase we could see there was a live band playing jazz music (I think it was jazz, anyway) which all added to the character and grandness of the art gallery.
There was a section just for children as well as all the big exhibitions which are for everyone...
When we walked into the childrens section, it was full of things to entertain little kids! It looked like it would be very fun for the little ones, it had an area with puppets in a box and curtains for them to perform their own puppet show behind; there were some magnetic pictures of boys and girls on the wall, and they could stick clothes on them and dress them up in chinese dresses, etc.
There were colouring pens and paper etc, they could have their photo taken (I think, because there was some children having a proper photograph done).
The sculptures in the sculpture room were so realistic looking it was sort of spooky...
The sculptures were mainly of nude men and women, so it was embarrassing for my two younger sisters as the sculptures are quite close to each other so they didn't really know where to look. Even around the tops of the walls they were decorated with sculptures all fitted onto the walls. It was rather spectacular.
You can go through another door in the sculpture room which leads into a craft room. In this room is things such as a display cabinet full of beautiful, big dresses. Some of them were really stunning. There is a computer screen and you can choose which dress on it that you want to learn about. The computer will tell you some information about the dress you choose. To be honest, I can't really remember what else was in this room. We didn't spend too long in here, though, as we were all really tired by this point and hungry - also we needed to catch our ferry back across the Mersey.
The modern art was bright and fantastic, looking at some of the bright paintings made me feel a bit dizzy...
n art wasn't really to my taste, I prefer the older paintings which I will write about in a minute, but my mum and sisters loved this part. My favourite things in this part were the chairs - there were some chairs in the middle of the room with a sign near them saying something like 'make yourself comfortable on a piece of 21st century art'. The chairs weren't too outrageous, I thought they were quite cool. They were surprisingly all really comfy, as well, although they didn't look it.
Another strange thing was a toilet made into a musical instrument! It was literally a toilet, and the pipes at the back were all twisted around looking a bit like a trumpet. There was a button you could press to hear this instrument play - I have to be honest, it sounded terrible! I can't remember which section this one was in, but I can remember thinking how weird it is!
My favourite paintings were all the old ones...
I love looking at the old paintings from hundreds of years ago, they're usually really interesting and have lots going on in them. I also like the big gold frames. There is so much history inside these old paintings in The Walker Art Gallery. I loved imagining who were the people behind them etc. Some of them are really spooky, I also like the dark, creepy paintings and pictures of old Victorians who look as though they're staring right at you, no matter where you are in the room.
There was also a really grand chimney piece, very historical as I read from the plaque next to it that it was taken from a mansion somewhere and moved all the way to The Walker Art Gallery.
I think that anyone with a big imagination will love the old paintings. I thought they really stimulated my mind and interest, I was actually really surprised at how much I enjoyed my time in the gallery.
Some sections of the gallery were still being built, so there will be even more to look at soon...
Although some people might think "art gallery = boring" I have got to say this is what I first thought, but I was wrong! The art gallery is not only free, there is all kinds of different arty things, all different so there is probably something for everyone.
I found my trip to the art gallery very interesting. I would even go as far to say I had a good time!
I recommend to anyone who hasn't been, if they're ever in Liverpool, to drop by and take a look round. It's free so well worth going to!
Sorry there are no pictures to go with this review. Some pictures would have been great, I know. But the thing is, no one was taking any pictures in the gallery, and I don't think you're really allowed to, so I didn't really want to risk being kicked out!
There are some pictures on the official website for the art gallery, which is:
In case anybody is seriously thinking about visiting the art gallery, I will put the opening times below.
The Walker Art Gallery is open every day from 10am till 5pm.
As mentioned before, the Gallery has free entry.
It is closed from 2pm on Christmas Eve. It is also closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
I think the gallery is funded by donations, as there are donation boxes all over the gallery, and I think people are quite generous as there was lots of money in them! Unfortunately, I didn't have any money on me to give to the gallery, or I would have liked to give a small bit of change if I had any money, because the place was so fascinating and wonderful.
There is a gift shop in the art gallery, like in most museums and art galleries, selling interesting looking objects that you don't really need but you might still feel the need to buy anyway. I thought the shop was just a little over priced, I probably wouldn't have even entered it to be honest if it wasn't for my mum dragging me in there! She bought me and my sisters a bracelet each, which cost around £2.50 I think, they aren't the prettiest bracelets but they are a lovely souvenier and whenever I wear it I will always be reminded of what a great day out I had at the Walker Art Gallery!
My mum also bought a mini sculpture of TutanKamun's head, which we have now got on the top of the fireplace in the living room!
Upcoming Events and Activities
The Walker Art Gallery looks like it has a lot of events, judging from their website. If you're interesting, go to the official website which I have provided above. You can choose what day you are free and then a list comes up of events and activities.
Hope my review has been helpful to you, again sorry there are no pictures to go with this - didn't want to get kicked out and also not sure if I'm allowed to copy from the website. Overall I enjoyed the gallery, and if you visit hopefully you will, too xxxxxx
(Note: I was just about to publish this review yesterday evening (Monday 17th August) but then unfortunately we had a power cut, so I've posted it today. This is because I talk in it about visiting the gallery on Sunday as yesterday)
Also posted on ciao
I'm writing this review on the basis that the reader is an avid art lover and on that basis I highly recommend a visit to this gallery, especially if you appreciate the art of the late Victorian period. Obviously visiting art galleries is not to everyone's taste, but I always find this gallery an enjoyable place to visit. The Walker Art Gallery is the biggest Art gallery in Liverpool. Architecturally it is an impressive building. The sweeping staircases one each side of the main entrance area will lead you to the upper floor where most of the art works are displayed, although there is also a lift that will take you there.
It was the 15th Earl of Derby who opened the Walker Art Gallery (now also known as the National Gallery of the North) on 6 September 1877. It houses an important international art collection dating from the 14th to the 21st century, but I would say that most of the works are from around the late 19th century period.
The gallery is most noted for its collection of European Old Masters, Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite pictures and modern British works. There are the Medieval, Renaissance, and Eighteenth Century and High Victorian galleries. There is also a beautiful Sculpture gallery to the right of the main entrance as you walk in. Outstanding works include Simone Martini's Christ Discovered in the Temple and masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Poussin, Gainsborough and Hogarth. Other important artists include: Claude Monet, David Hockney, Paul Nash, WR Sickert and JMW Turner.
Probably my favourite artists at this gallery are from the Pre-Raphaelite school that include works by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Giovanni Segantini, Annie Louisa Swynnerton and John William Waterhouse. There are a number of memorable paintings that I particularly like; these include:
'Echo and Narcissus' (1903) by John William Waterhouse. In Greek mythology, the unhappy nymph Echo was condemned to repeat the last words spoken to her but fell in love with the beautiful youth Narcissus. After rejecting her, he was punished by falling in love with his own reflection. He became obsessed by the sight of his own beauty and died. Yellow narcissus flowers grew where he died and Waterhouse has included these in the painting.
'A Horse Frightened by a Lion' (1770) by George Stubbs. 2006 marked the bi-centenary of the death of George Stubbs, one of Liverpool's most famous artists. The gallery houses a number of his horse paintings and drawings. Stubbs became intimately acquainted with horses during his youth. He achieved notoriety across Europe for his publication 'The Anatomy of the Horse' (1766), a study of the equine skeleton and muscles on which he laboured for nearly ten years.
'The Ruins of Holyrood Chapel' (c1824) by Louis Daguerre. I think this is a stunning painting. Daguerre is best known for his contribution to the history of photography. He invented the first photographic process, the daguerreotype in 1839, but he also became famous for the development of dioramas.
There is also an unusual painting by Paul Cézanne called "The Murder"- an early painting by him and not his usual subject matter. It is one of Cézanne's early paintings, an unusually dramatic piece depicting the brutality of the act. The murderer lifts his hand ready to give the final blow while his accomplice uses her heavy and rounded body to keep the victim pinned down. The faces of the two murderers are hidden, but the victim's face is contorted with pain.
The Craft and Design Gallery
There is a recently opened Craft & Design Gallery at the Walker where you will find displays showing the gallery's extensive collection of decorative arts including jewellery, tableware, fashion and furniture. It features more than 500 items dating back 300 years. The aim of the gallery is to show the important part art has played in everyday life over the past 300 years. I really liked this gallery because as well as antique pieces you will also find relatively recent historical artefacts such as early mobile phones and I had to smile when I saw the Gameboy. Another interesting item that caught my eye was a collarless stage suit made for John Lennon. There was also a chamber pot that was designed for Napoleon to use in exile but I'm not sure if he used it!
The John Moores exhibition
The Walker plays host to the biennial John Moores Exhibition. This is in fact a competition for Britain's up and coming contemporary painters. I've always liked the modern stuff but I know it is not to everybody's taste. Since 1980, the Walker Art Gallery has automatically added the first prize-winning work to its collection. Nowadays the exhibition coincides with the Liverpool Biennial, which takes place throughout the city. The next Liverpool Biennial will take place during the capital of culture year in 2008.
Despite the more recent modern additions to the collection, the collection at the Walker remains dominated by earlier periods of art, especially the 18th and 19th centuries. It will therefore appeal more to those who prefer traditional figurative paintings rather than those who are mentally stimulated by looking at a pile of bricks or a tin of soup.
Walker Art Gallery cafe and shop
There is quite a good cafe along with a gallery shop. I always find it essential to sit down and have a coffee after a trawl around a gallery or a museum. The café is situated on the ground floor at the far end from the main entrance. I find the food there of quite good quality although a bit expensive which I guess is to be expected. There is a good selection of open sandwiches, salads, cakes and refreshments. The shop is not that big but it does stock a range of books, postcards, prints and souvenirs, including crafts and jewellery.
The Gallery is open every day from 10am-5pm. The gallery has ramped wheelchair access and there are lifts to the upper floor. The education suite also has full wheelchair access and there is a specially adapted toilet.
There is a car park conveniently placed right next to the gallery on William Brown Street, but during the week this is pay and display only. It's best to go on a Sunday when there is free parking in this area. Public car parks can be found at Camden Street off Islington and Queen Square.
Admission is free although there may at times be a charge for selected special exhibitions.
I do art in college and today we made a visit to the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. First impressions, it looked like exactly like a typical art gallery, big, old and lots of pillars. Inside much of the same. The first room you come to, just right of the foyet, is a room of sculptures. Ye Old white concrete sculptures. Much of the same, white lions, soldiers and woman etc. Not really to my taste. The first and top floor, boasts well not much really, unless you are into ye old boring 19th and early 20th century paintings of countrysides and wartime. Each painting resembling the last, dark, dull yet extremely well painted. If you are into this style of painting, the paintings are of very high standards, as you would expect in an art gallery. Also on the first floor you will find a strange gallery of dead stuffed animals, with paintings/drawings of them alive accompanying the corpses. Not at all to my taste. The part i was looking forward to, was the modern art exhibition. But there were only about 10 pieces of work to it, if that. This was disappointing and what was there wasn't really anything special. In a last attempt to find someting i liked, i went into the Paul McCartney exhibition. £2 extra, but i got in free with the college hurrah. Paul McCartney's work was quite modern in its style, and was a large exhibition with dozens of pieces of art work. However it was somewhat disappointing, the pieces were sometimes very similar, and somewhat lacked talent. I'm sorry to say the only decent pieces, were not paintings, but digital photos played around with a bit. In conclusion if you're into paintings of coutrysides, and children with animals, you may enjoy the gallery, otherwise, i would advise you to stay well clear. However my day was not totally ruined, i counted a total of 8 complete shell suites, and one big black male perm. These scouse stereotypes made my day, thankyou.
The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool is one art gallery which even a non-art lover would find a pleasure to visit. The reason for this is because it is just the right size, almost perfect I would say, for someone to enjoy looking at the beautiful works of art without getting tired of having to walk through too many rooms and floors. Aside from its physical advantages, the Walker is also home to some excellent paintings and sculptures. Although it has been many years since I visited the place, I still remember vividly a painting which hangs on the wall at the top of the main stairs. It is a very iluminating picture of a mother and her child, the image of which, has stayed with me till this day. The little gallery shop has a wide range of postcards of the paintings that you see in there as well as other small collectibles. If you should get bored of all these painted canvases, then there is also a little tea room at which you can have some refreshments. It is a highly recommended gallery for the person who wants to see some 'art' without getting too big a dose of it