Liverpool has much to offer to a visitor. Apart from the famous waterfront attractions, museums and historic sites, the Walker Art Gallery on the William Brown Street is one of the must visit attractions in Liverpool. The gallery opened on 6 September 1877.
Housed in a neo-Classical building, this gallery boasts of one of the richest English collections of art outside London. It is part of National Museums Liverpool and is open daily. Entry is free (although we had to pre-book tickets because of covid-19 regulations).
Among the collection are
- Italian and Netherlandish paintings from 1300–1550
- European art from 1550–1900
- 18th & 19th-century British art
- A large collection of Victorian painting and Pre-Raphaelite works.
The art gallery also houses a wide collection of prints, drawings and watercolours, as well as 20th-century works by various artists such as Lucian Freud, David Hockney and Gilbert and George. Apart from these, the art gallery is also home to a major sculpture collection. It has an enviable collection of minor or decorative arts ranging from Gothic ivories to British ceramics from the 1700s to the present day.
The Notable Collections at Walker Art Gallery
The gallery’s collections is displayed in various sections as under:
- Medieval and Renaissance Art
- Late Renaissance Art in Italy, Baroque Art in Europe
- 17th-Century Dutch and Flemish Art
- 18th-Century European Art
- The Pre-Raphaelites
- Victorian Narrative painting
- Victorian High Art 1860-1900
- Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
- British Art from 1880 to 1950
- John Moores Painting Prizewinners
Temporary shows and special exhibitions
Apart from the permanent collections, the gallery also hosts special shows and exhibitions from time to time. The Linda McCartney collection and Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in 2019 are some of the notable shows of recent times.
Some displays are closed to public at present as they are undergoing necessary refurbishment and restoration processes. Until they reopen, visitors to the gallery will miss out seeing some masterpieces such as the portrait by Rembrandt, a copy of Monalisa and more.
Our favourites from the visit to Walker Art Gallery
We enjoyed seeing the works such as
- And when did you last see your father? – William Frederick Yeames 1878
- Linlithgow Palace Joseph – Mallord William Turner 1806
- News from My Lad – James Campbell
- Horse Frightened by a Lion – George Stubbs 1770
- One of the Family – George Cotman 1880
- Eventide- A Scene at the Westminster Union – Hubert von Herkomer 1878
- Ploughing, Valley of the Conway – William Davis
Other works on display include European Renaissance paintings, masterpieces by Rubens, Poussin, Rembrandt, Turner and Stubbs, Pre-Raphaelite artworks by Rossetti and Millais and Impressionist works by Monet and Degas.
The Walker Art Gallery’s Mona Lisa
Perhaps a common person may not be able to tell the difference between the Mona Lisa in Louvre and the one in Walker art gallery. The most famous painting of the present times was actually not very popular until the early 20th century. It might sound ironical, but the world noticed the painting when someone stole it from Louvre in 1911.
It is said that an art expert bought the Mona Lisa in the early-20th century and presented it to the Walker Art Gallery in 1915 thinking that it was the original painting. However, there is at least one significant difference between the two versions – Liverpool’s version shows more of the chair than the one in Louvre.
Try to find if there are any more differences next time you pop in the Walker Art Gallery to see the Liverpool Mona Lisa.
John Moores Painting Prize
Walker Art Gallery is associated with the John Moores Painting Prize, which brings together the best in contemporary British painting of present times. The John Moors painting competition has been held every two years ever since its first edition in 1957 and is the biggest painting prize in the UK.
The 2020 John Moores Painting Prize winners were announced on 04-03-2021. Check out the winning entries and what they have to say about it here:
Walker art gallery is conveniently located at Liverpool city centre. It is at a walkable distance from the city’s main railway station (Lime Street) and bus stand (Queen Square). It is located adjacent to St George’s Hall, Central Library and World Museum on William Brown Street.
For more information on the displays, and opening timings, check the gallery’s official website
Don’t forget to share your experience with us after you visit this amazing art gallery.
If you would like to watch the vlog on our visit to the Walker Art Gallery, click here.