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Animal Magic

A Select Committee - Henry Stacy Marks (1829-1898)

A Select Committee - Henry Stacy Marks (1829-1898)

1 February - 16 May 2004

Free Admission

Animal Magic features a range of ceramics including stoneware, porcelain and earthenware dating from the eighteenth century to the present day. All have one thing in common - they have either been decorated with or made to look like animals.

Animals have been portrayed in art for as long as humans have known how to draw. Some artists use animal features and characteristics to symbolise myths and gods, while others are more interested in creating a realistic depiction of the creatures themselves.

The artists represented at the Lady Lever Art Gallery have drawn influences from all types of mammals, insects and birds from wild, untamed beasts to domestic pets. King of the beasts in this display however is not the lion but the monkey, which dominates a whole display case with simian-inspired items including a delftware jug and a majolica teapot.

Presiding over the display is the popular painting A Select Committee by Henry Stacy Marks, a colourful portrayal of a meeting of parrots, which wittily satirises parliamentary meetings. Marks was passionate about birds, which he referred to as; "Creatures second only to women in beauty, of such gorgeous colour and form". This painting is a good example of the way he gave birds human qualities in his work.