While nervous Liverpool fans pray that West Ham can deliver them a helpful victory over Manchester City this weekend, they may be surprised to know that the Lady Lever Art Gallery holds a very special piece of footballing history connected to the Hammers.
Millais’ painting ‘Bubbles’, now a part of the gallery’s incredible Pre-Raphaelite collection, was the original inspiration behind West Ham’s club song ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’. The American tune was adopted in the late 1920s when a school boy Billy J. Murray, who bore an uncanny likeness to the child in the painting, was working up the ranks of the junior squad and making a big impression on West Ham fans.
The painting had already become widely known due to its use by Pears Soap for an advert when, much to Millais' fury, a bar of soap was added to the foreground of the image!
Good luck to Liverpool (and West Ham) this weekend. I'm too nervous to watch and may actually prefer to walk around the more calming spaces of the Lady Lever, knowing as I pass this painting I will be crossing all possible fingers and toes.