watercolour painting of a Liverpool street scene looking towards St George's Hall and the Walker Art Gallery

'Lime Street and St George's Hall' by James Hamilton Hay, 1906

This watercolour of St George’s Plateau, with the Walker Art Gallery visible in the background, is one of several Liverpool scenes that go on display today as part of the new exhibition James Hamilton Hay: Portrait of the Engraver at the Walker Art Gallery.

Born in 1874 in Birkenhead, Hay was one of the most talented artists to emerge from the Liverpool area in the early 20th century. However his death from lung cancer in 1916, aged 42, prematurely ended his career and prevented him from being as well known as he might have been. 

After finding his training at Liverpool School of Art "very unsatisfactory", Hay moved to Cornwall where he flourished under British Impressionist Julius Olsson. Hay later returned to Liverpool and became an energetic advocate for contemporary art in the city; he was responsible for organising exhibitions of work by significant international artists including one by the French Impressionist, Édouard Manet, in 1904.

Hay travelled Britain extensively and documented his travels through his work, often making his etchings on the spot. The exhibition includes etchings Hay made in Buckinghamshire, Dorset, and the Lake District, as well as Liverpool and of the recently-built Runcorn Bridge.

Accession number WAG 7280