Current and planned exhibitions for the Williamson Art Gallery


Williamson Art Gallery and Museum

Slatey Road, Birkenhead, CH43 4UE, 652 4177.
New website:-
Fully accessible and cafe available.
Open: Wednesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm.
Closed: Mondays, Tuesdays and Bank Holidays


Until –May 10 2015:Williamson Open exhibition
Our annual opportunity for all artists with Wirral connections to submit work, in both art and photographic sections, for a survey of the best work being produced in the area. At least one purchase prize will be awarded which adds work to the Williamson’s permanent collection for posterity
Public vote for the Kriterion Award was announced on 9th of May during Williamson Talks.  Exhibitors can collect their works from Wednesday 13th May to Sunday 18th
May 23 – June 7:Wirral Art School Degree Show
Wirral Metropolitan BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA Illustration with Animation will once again be exhibiting their final year shows at the Williamson Art Gallery. This annual celebration of creativity and visual culture is a fantastic opportunity for students to showcase their artistic and professional skills in such an important local venue.The strength of both courses is the diversity of artistic endeavour on offer. This year’s degree show will feature paintings, sculpture, installation and animation.

10 June – 14 June: Wirral Open Studio Tour

Wirral based professional and semi-professional artists take part in the tour, with many studios and creative spaces opening to the public. The Williamson will be participating with several artists and craftspeople taking up residency within the gallery and working with inspiration from the collections. Exhibitors are George Evans -photographer, Janine Pinion - painter, David Jones - model maker and painter, Li Wei Chen - artist and Alison Bailey Smith - craftsperson. NB (other venues open 13th and 14th only – MAPS available from end of May)

20 June – 19 July: Sylvia Hikins: Cold Coastlines – Iceland, Norway, Viking Wirral
Sylvia Hikins is a poet, painter, author and music maker. She first visited Iceland in 2009 and was blown over (once quite literally) by the cold, empty, dangerous and extra-ordinary landscape. Drawn back many times since, part of the fascination is the tangible link with Viking Wirral, a shared common heritage where we all once spoke Old Norse, the same language as the Icelanders. Her exhibition combines nearly sixty paintings, many created especially for this event, plus poetry and a short DVD she made after flying over the erupting volcano  Eyjafjallajokull in a tiny Cessna airplane. Sylvia writes: ‘Painting, writing, poetry is one way I respond to the world around me. Listen. Look. Feel. Nature is at the heart of all abstraction. When I stare out into the Mersey Estuary I can still see those wild expanses of ice, fire, mountain, sea, and a sky full of dancing Northern Lights.’
Previous exhibitions: Erddig, North Wales (2010); Liverpool Nordic Centre; Gallery Ofeigur, Reykjavik (2011); Liverpool Independents Biennial (2012); Grosvenor Museum, Chester (2013).

27 June – 30 August: Peter Philip Retrospective Exhibition
Peter Philip is a Liverpool-based representational painter working mainly in oils but he has produced many large-scale drawings of animals in his ‘Bestiary’ series, turning some studies into smaller etchings. He is twice a past prize-winner in the Wirral Spring Exhibition and exhibits regularly around the North West of England.

The exhibition will show a wide range of work from all periods of his artistic career and will include drawings, watercolours, prints and oils. In recent years he has been especially drawn to classical paintings which are re-envisaged with contemporary figures in the same positions but the modern setting leads to a very different interpretation of the subject.

Image available: Peter Philip: Bestiary VII Ostrich, crayon 2013; Carousel II, oil on canvas, 2011 (Wirral Spring prize winner)
22 July – 30 August: Selection from the Williamson collection
19 September – 18 October: Wirral Society of Arts Members’ Exhibition
19 September – 18 October: Wirral Art School Fellowships
31 October – 22 November (pv 30 October): Garden installation: 
The McGuires (subject to public vote)

28 & 29 November: Oxton Art Fair
2 December until tbc *: Selection from the Williamson collection


Gallery Four

June 6 —October 24 2015: Waterloo Lives: The Story Behind The Painting
To commemorate the bicentenary of Waterloo, the National Army Museum have partnered with The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum on a temporary exhibition which looks at how the Battle was fought and won. Rarely seen objects from NAM will feature alongside The Williamson's permanent collections to tell the stories of the regiments, the soldiers, their families and the legacy they left behind.

Gallery 6

Until July 5: Albert Richards
Albert Richards (19 December 1919 - 5 March 1945) was born in Liverpool but moved to Wallasey as a small boy and attended Wallasey School of Art 1935-39 when he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. After only 3 months, he was called up into the army where he served in the Royal Engineers before transferring to a Parachute Brigade and in 1944, he was appointed an Official War Artist. He was the youngest of the three British official war artists killed during the conflict.  On March 5th 1945 he drove his jeep into a minefield and was killed, aged only 25. This is a small selection of work by Richards, both from student days and during the Second World War.

15 July – 27 September: Thomas Burke 1906–1945

Thomas Burke was born in 1906 in Liverpool. During the 1920s and 30s he studied art at Liverpool College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. In 1941 he joined the Merchant Navy as 3rd Radio Officer on the ship the Dalesman. In May that year, the Dalesman was bombed and sunk by enemy aircraft off the coast of Crete. Burke, along with other Merchant Navy personnel, was transferred to Milag (Marine Internierten Lager, or Marine Internment Camp) at Westertimke, north west Germany. Whilst imprisoned, he produced many drawings and watercolours including images of camp life, portraits and set designs for theatrical productions. In 1945, Burke was repatriated to Britain. He died the same year on the 15th of July 1945 (70 years prior to the first day of the exhibition), probably of blackwater fever which he had contracted in the camps

Gallery 11

Until 28 June: Alumni Portrait Project
The Alumni Portrait Project celebrates the work of nine photographers aged between 12 and 19 years. Building on skills learnt from New Elements I and II the young people embarked on an ambitious process to photograph and interview over 50 Alumni, all former members of Wirral Youth Theatre (WYT), recording their stories and reflecting the influence of WYT on their adult lives. The group were outstanding in their dedication and creative input into this programme, rising to the challenge of using a 40 year old film camera, light meter, tripod and manually setting the aperture and shutter speed to control the light to create the shot they had planned.


Artspace Gallery 14:

22 April – 10 May: West Kirby Grammar School: GCSE artwork
West Kirby Grammar School exhibition of year 10 students’ themed work selected from the three GCSE specialist art courses taught at WKGS: Fine Art ‘Portraiture’, Graphic Communication ‘Typography Portraits’ and Textile Design ‘Shoes’.

May 13 – June 7th: The Two Rivers Art Group
The Two Rivers Art Group is a collection of professional artists who occasionally exhibit together
Drawing their inspiration from the Wirral peninsula where they all live and work the resulting pieces show vastly different interpretations. The exhibition will encompass many and varied techniques and styles including pencil drawings, original prints, digital art, portraiture and sculpture.