Masterpiece watercolours and drawings

28 June to 9 November 2008

Please note this exhibition has closed.

Hazy landscape painting of an industrial town on a hill overlooking barges on a river

JMW Turner, 'Dudley'. Accession number LL 3923

This exhibition introduces William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925), later the first Viscount Leverhulme, as a notable collector of British watercolours and drawings. It traces Lever's taste and his relationship with some of the most renowned art dealers of his day.

Exhibition themes

The exhibition is in three sections. Follow the links below to see the watercolours and drawings in each one.

The development of Lever's collection

Lever started purchasing British watercolours and drawings from the 1890s to decorate his homes, including Thornton Manor, Wirral and The Hill, Hampstead. He acquired many of the works from the dealer and collector James Orrock.

Over a period of thirty years Lever collected about 1,000 works including some by leading figures of the British watercolour school. He selected what he regarded as the best from this collection for the Lady Lever Art Gallery, which he founded in 1922. Today the gallery has around 300 British works on paper.

The display also reveals how the collection has developed since its founder's death through acquisitions made by the Trustees of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in the 1940s and 1950s.

Watercolours and drawings catalogue

The exhibition has been devised to accompany the publication later in 2008 of a fully illustrated catalogue of the gallery's collection of watercolours and drawings.

Touring programme

This exhibition will also be shown at The Herbert, Coventry from
13 January to 22 March 2009.

Exhibition organised by National Museums Liverpool.
Sponsored by Rathbone Investment Management.

Sketch of rickety buildings on a mountainside in an alpine setting

Lever, 'Nauders, Tyrol'. Accession number LL 3864