Happy New Year for 2016

Happy New Year

The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and Birkenhead Priory are closed until tomorrow. the 2nd of January.

When the gallery reopens this is what will be on exhibition

The End of the American Civil War exhibition
- the Merseyside connection in Gallery 6 until the 10th of January 2016
The last Confederate surrender of the American Civil War occurred in Merseyside on 6 November1865, when the Confederate warship 'CSS Shenandoah' surrendered. During 1864-1865 the ship had captured, sunk or bonded 38 Union merchant vessels, and was responsible for firing the last shot of the American Civil War in June 1865. Unaware of the Confederate surrender, the captian continued to sink Union merchant ships off Alaska, until the ship met the Liverpool ship 'Barrocouta' sailing out of San Francisco harbour on 2 August. He sailed the 'Shenandoah' to Merseyside to surrender knowing that if they returned to America, it would mean he and his crew would face a Union court and be tried as pirates, as surrender terms did not extend amnesty to sailors.

…to have and to hold ending on the 9th of January 2016
The Williamson Art Gallery are celebrating romance with wedding dresses on display belonging to members of Heswall U3A and former brides connected to the gallery, who have also contributed family photographs, invitations and treasured tokens of their very special days ranging from the 1920s to the present day. The exhibition is curated by Susan Brown.

The University of the Third Age is a national organisation for men and women who are retired or semi-retired and wish to continue learning and sharing knowledge. U3A branches are operationally independent and run by the voluntary efforts of their members.

A Room of One’s Own (a year long exhibition) in Gallery four
Interior paintings drawn from the Williamson’s collections, from all parts of the gallery’s life: from one purchased in 1913 to one given in 2015; prize-winners, bequests, gifts, transfers: they represent almost every way pictures come into museum collections. Over half are by artists with local connections; some by artists with international reputations, others by local students, they encapsulate in one room, the range and diversity of the Williamson’s art collection.

English Watercolours in Gallery Five (a semi permanent exhibition which will be re-hung around Easter)
The core watercolour collection at the Williamson was being built from the early 1920’s in preparation for the new gallery in 1928 and continued particularly throughout the 1930’s: an effort was made to have work by all the significant British painters in watercolour and some very exceptional pictures are included: for instance, a JMW Turner that had formerly belonged to John Ruskin.

The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain in Gallery Two ends on the 17th of January 2016

The PAGB is the coordinating body for photographic societies and clubs across the country. Each year they hold a major exhibition that tours the country (in 2015: Faversham, Maidstone, Oldbury & Newport) showcasing the 150 prints judged to the best of those submitted by the local societies. The Williamson Art Gallery have had a close relationship over many years with some the local photographic groups and have shown the annual Lancashire & Cheshire Photographic Union exhibition many times.

Herdman and the local scene in Gallery 11 from the 20th of January 2016 until 13th of March 2016

Wiliam Gawin Herdman (1805-1882) was a vigorous opponent of the Pre-Raphaelite tendency in Liverpool's Academy. He took very seriously his mission to document Liverpool as it changed into a bustling Victorian town. Herdman and his children provided the images of both Liverpool and its surroundings that informs all our preceptions of how things used to look and that provide the reference points for how it looks today.

Village Wirral from 20th of January in Gallery 13
Looking through the A-Z or speak to any person in Wirral and the word "VILLAGE" crops up a lot. Wirral is often perceived as a series of village communities that still identify themselves as separate from their neighbours. This is a look throughsome of the Williamson's paintings that pick out the distinctiveness of many Wirral communities.

Selection from the Williamson collection of oil paintings from the late Victorian and early Edwardian period are on show in Gallery One, making way for an exhibition of Liverpool Painters of the 19th Century which begins on the 3rd of February.

The Williamson has lent extensively to the Walker Art Gallery's exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion, which focuses on a select group of Liverpool-based artists and their cutting edge Pre-Raphaelite realism. The Williamson will show additional work by those featured artists and a group of paintings and drawings by other artists working in Liverpool at the time.

Wirral Change's community quilts will be on show in Gallery 11 from 19th of March

Williamson Open will be in Galleries 1-3 from 2nd of April until the 8th of May. Hand in dates 11-13th of March, Free entry, Wed - Sunday 10am - 5pm. Please watch our website, blog and social media for release date for application forms or ask within the gallery in the first week in March.

Wirral Met Degree Show in Galleries One to Three, 21st of May until the 5th of June

From Renaissance to Regent Street: the Della Robbia Pottery in Gallery 4, from the 18th of June 2016

The Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead, drew inspiration from a number of sources but work was primarily looking to Italy. Led by Harold Rathbone the potters translated their ideas into clay for sale through shops and exhibitions across the UK. Recent research has revealed some fascinating connections with 19th century Italy as well as the Renaissance. This exhibition will look at Rathbone himself, his own painting and collecting, his and his contemporaries’ interest in Italy and put Birkenhead’s Della Robbia into a contemporary context, as the truest Arts & Crafts pottery put onto the market.


A concert by "Mostly Madrigals" group to welcome the New Year on the 10th January at 3.00pm at the Williamson Art Gallery. Concert includes some jolly wassail songs, Britten's New Year Carol, and others from their repertoire. Free, but voluntary donations to Friends of the Williamson Art Gallery and Wirral Museums welcome.

Love Vintage - Love Pillbox at The Williamson Art Gallery 13th of February 2016

“Love Vintage? You will love this Vintage fair -
Vintage - an array of vintage outfits . accessories, collectables - not just for Ladies ----Gentlemen too !
Vintage Wedding - all you need for a truly vintage wedding - before the big day... and on the day
So much Vintage and its all free entry”

Friends of the Williamson Annual General Meeting at 2.30pm on 14th of February 2016

Early 2016 Drawing Classes with Pamela Sullivan
The course is designed for beginners, those who want to brush up on existing skills and also for those who just want a relaxing space to draw with the benefit of advice and support from the tutor and the group. We will be using our specially designed and equipped art room for some sessions but will also be drawing on gallery and visiting other venues such as Birkenhead Priory, Lady Lever Gallery and exploring some of the events and happenings going on in Liverpool.

The course begins Thursday 7th of January 2016 10am to 12pm £50 for 10 weeks. To book a place or for general enquiries contact Pamela Sullivan at The Williamson Art Gallery 0151 652 4177 or pamelasullivan@wirral.gov.uk. Book on 2nd of January as only a few places left. Course not on during school holidays.

Painting class is FULL.