The Walker Art gallery had a lucky escape. Its close neighbours the library and the museum were gutted by the May Blitz of 1941, but the gallery survived. Some of its art collections were not so lucky and works by local and British artists were destroyed.
A portrait of Philip Rathbone (1828-1895) was lost during the Blitz. Liverpool’s Rathbone family were merchants and ship-owners known for their public service and support of good causes. Philip Rathbone played an important part in Liverpool’s cultural life sitting on the Library, Museum and Arts committee of Liverpool Town Council, and on the exhibitions committee at the Walker Art Gallery.
This portrait was painted in 1893, shortly before his death. It was presented to the museum by a number of subscribers who had each paid a subscription in order that the portrait could be painted and then given to the gallery’s collection.