The foundation of the Walker Art Gallery

Sepia formal group photograph showing a seated committee

Autumn exhibition select committee

1873 - Andrew Barclay Walker (1824-1893), a Liverpool brewer and alderman offered to present a gallery to Liverpool to commemorate his term as mayor. Walker was not noted as patron or collector of art. He did, however, erect public houses of high architectural standards and gave generously to many good causes. This may partly have been to improve the public image of brewing and alcohol at a time when the temperance movement was popular. Walker donated £20,000 towards the new gallery.

1874 - On 28 September Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh laid the foundation stone of the Walker Art Gallery. The council set aside £1,200 for the purchase of works of art.

1877 - The 15th Earl of Derby opened the Walker Art Gallery on 6 September. It received 324,117 visitors in four months.

1878 - 'And when did you last see your father?' by WF Yeames was bought from the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition for £750. Today it is one of the gallery's most famous and popular works.

1881 - Attendance figures peak at 610,779 (over 2,000 a day).

1881 - 'Dante's Dream' by Rossetti was bought for £1,575. This and subsequent purchases of Pre-Raphaelite works ('Isabella' by Millais in 1884 and Holman Hunt's 'Triumph of the Innocents' in 1891) commemorated the Liverpool Academy's association with the Brotherhood.

1882 - 'A Street in Brittany' by Stanhope Forbes was bought. This heralded a period of collecting social realist works, from the Newlyn School and others.

1884 - A new extension to the Walker Art Gallery was opened. Andrew Barclay Walker paid the entire cost of £11,500.

1885 - The collection now included over 360 works.

1891 - 'Punishment of lust' by Giovanni Segantini was bought for £315. This was one of the few modern foreign pictures to be bought before 1900.

1893 - All of the Liverpool Royal Institution's collections were placed on long-term loan to the gallery. The 15th Earl of Derby made a bequest of £2,000. The income from this was to be used to buy works from rising artists.

1908 - The Walker Art Gallery held the 'Historical Exhibition of Liverpool Art'. This comprehensive show of 18th and 19th century art marked the beginning of serious study and patronage of local artists.

1910 - 'Horse Frightened by a Lion' by George Stubbs was bought for £22 10s.

1917 - John Elliot donated 44 paintings, mostly by local artists.

1923 - James Smith donated several important works to the collection. Artists included Watts, Windus and Rodin.

1929 - For the first time a contribution from the rates (£750) was made to the picture purchase fund.