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Thousands view scenes of Wirral beauty in major exhibition

Posted on Tuesday 17th May 2016

Old Eastham Ferry, about 1853, William Davis © Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, Birkenhead

Region’s landscape inspired key works from leading art movement

Idyllic rural landscapes of the Wirral star in a blockbuster exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery.

More than 30,000 visitors have been to see Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion, which runs at the Walker Art Gallery until 5 June. Exploring Liverpool’s connection with the influential art movement, visitors have taken in some stunning scenes of natural beauty, local to the city, including the Wirral.

A fundamental belief of the Pre-Raphaelite artists was to create art which was 'true to nature'. Local artists who embraced the Pre-Raphaelite style were drawn to the beauty of the Wirral countryside on their doorstep, producing exquisite landscapes.

Wirral scenes include:

  • Wind on Green Corn, Near Eastham (about 1853) by Robert Tonge
  • Wallasey Mill, Cheshire (about 1856) by William Davis
  • House at Oxton (1854) by Julius Caesar Bond
  • View of Wallasey, Wirral (about 1856) by William Davis
  • Old Eastham Ferry (about 1853) by William Davis
  • Landscape of Bidston (second half of 1850s) by William Davis

The majority of the Wirral scenes were painted by Dublin-born artist William Davis. The area around Wallasey provided Davis with much of his subject matter. He represented it with affection and familiarity and a meticulous approach which won him the admiration of the Pre-Raphaelites under whose influence his style developed.

The Wirral images join stunning pieces on loan from institutions and private collections across the UK, some of which have never been on public display before.

Sandra Penketh, Director of Art Galleries said:

“The Wirral landscape inspired local Pre-Raphaelite artists. Their paintings depict peaceful, rural scenes with delightful detail and vivid colour. When looking at these works it is interesting to consider how these views have changed in the 150 years or so since they were painted.”

Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion features more than 120 paintings by leading Pre-Raphaelite artists.

National Museums Liverpool has worked with one of the world’s leading Pre-Raphaelite experts, Christopher Newall, to produce an exhibition which reveals, through some of the most enduring and popular works of the period, how the northern art scene rivalled London in Victorian England.

Tickets for Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion are available to purchase online, priced at £7 for adults and £5 for concessions, or on the day at the Walker Art Gallery. The exhibition is free to anyone aged 18 and under and discounted tickets are available for existing members of National Museums Liverpool and other selected groups.

New members can enjoy their first entry into the exhibition for free. For further information, and to purchase tickets or become a member of National Museums Liverpool, visit: www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/preraphaelites

The exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour 128-page catalogue.


Free entry
Open daily 10am-5pm                                                                     @walkergallery
Walker Art Gallery
William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EL                                     Facebook/walkerartgallery
Telephone 0151 478 4199 

Notes to Editors

The development of the Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion exhibition was supported in part by a Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Research Grant from the Art Fund.

The exhibition catalogue has been made possible by the generous support of: Sotheby’s, Mr and Mrs Christopher Gridley, Mr Peter Woods and Mr Francis Ryan.

The provision of insurance for the exhibition is provided through the Government Indemnity Scheme, arranged by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England.

About the Walker Art Gallery
The Walker Art Gallery has housed an internationally-renowned collection of paintings, sculpture and decorative art within its impressive, neo-classical walls for almost 140 years. From Medieval and Renaissance masterpieces to an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary works, it is one of Europe’s finest galleries. Visitors can see paintings by 17th and 18th century masters including Poussin, Rembrandt and Gainsborough, before taking in the Walker’s famed Pre-Raphaelite collection. The Impressionist works are not-to-be-missed, while some of the greatest British artists of the last century are represented in the contemporary galleries, from Lucian Freud to David Hockney. Younger visitors will love Big Art for Little Artists, a gallery designed to introduce children to art in a fun and interactive way.

About National Museums Liverpool
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic.   

We attract almost 2.7 million visitors every year. Our venues are the International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, Sudley House, Border Force National Museum (Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered), Walker Art Gallery and World Museum.