Welcome to Objects in Focus at the VG&M

This Blog will focus on individual objects from our extensive fine and decorative art collections and the museum heritage collections. You will be regulary treated to an in-depth look into both familiar and unfamiliar artworks and objects, discovering some of the secrets and stories behind them.

You might recognise some objects from display, but others from departmental teaching collections will be seen publicly for the first time.

The Two Shipwrecks of the Circassian

Posted on: 29 July 2021 | Category: 2021

Abandoning the Circassian by Clarkson Stanfield (Detail)

Hanging in our Nature v Humans exhibition is a painting of a dramatic shipwreck during a turbulent storm. The stricken Liverpool-bound vessel is called the Circassian and this is a fictional scene. However, forty years later, a real ship from Liverpool with the same name also foundered in an episode brimming with heroism and tragedy.

The New Woman at University College Liverpool

Posted on: 25 June 2021 | Category: 2021

Performance photographs from the 1895 fundraiser shows that the poses from both the male and female students mimic one another with wagging fingers.

This week we celebrate #InternationalWomenInEngineeringDay and in our ‘A New Beauty’ exhibition we explore the evolving ways that physical attractiveness was depicted from the late 1800s and while women were being depicted as delicate and otherworldly creatures in art, real women were beginning to demand emancipation and equal voting rights. The press labelled them as the ‘New Woman’ from 1894 onwards and a year later satirical performances based on the occupations of women were performed in the Victoria Building and this blog looks at two of them in more detail.

On this day in 1815 - The Battle of Waterloo changed the course of European History.

Posted on: 18 June 2021 | Category: 2021

The Eagle Standard of Napoleon’s 105th Regiment being unpacked at the Victoria Gallery & Museum

This picture represents one of the most exciting moments I have ever experienced as a museum curator. In 2015, as part of the National Army Museum’s partnership project in commemoration of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, we exhibited a selection of artefacts from their Waterloo Collections. I had successfully negotiated the loan of one of only two Napoleonic Eagle Standards captured by the British at that battle (and I confess to having been shamelessly pleased with myself).

The Tale of the Nightmare Boss

Posted on: 27 May 2021 | Category: 2021

The Vicar and Moses glazed pottery figure group c.1790 by Ralph Wood

Ever had a boss who makes you do all the work while they sit back and do nothing? It’s not a modern phenomenon. Meet Moses, the beleaguered underling of this lazy and drunken Vicar, humorously immortalised in 18th century pottery and prints.

This is Kylie: Our Vintage Koala

Posted on: 14 May 2021 | Category: 2021

Kylie the taxidermy koala on display in the VGM.  Named in 2006, by a member of the VGM team.

As one of the world’s most recognisable and universally loved animals, you might be surprised to discover just how recently koalas were discovered by western science.

Adrian Scott Stokes – Traveller Towards Light

Posted on: 22 April 2021 | Category: 2021

Early Spring in the Austrian Tyrol and portrait of Adrian Scott Stokes

The sharp sunlight of spring brings a fresh clarity to nature and one painting in our collection demonstrates this beautifully: ‘Early Spring in the Austrian Tyrol’ by Adrian Scott Stokes. Let’s discover more about this much-travelled landscape artist from Merseyside.

Manifesto: The second-best Grand National horse ever!

Posted on: 9 April 2021 | Category: 2021

Manifesto on display in the VG&M Tate Hall Museum, 2008

The 2.5 mile Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree is named in his honour, but it’s likely you don’t know anything else about him. He’s probably the ‘Buzz Aldrin’ of the racehorse world – everyone only remembers the first man on the moon and they only remember the horse with the very best record at the Grand National. But - Manifesto deserves to be remembered as being in the same league as Red Rum.

Mitzi Cunliffe - Behind the Mask

Posted on: 25 March 2021 | Category: 2021

Mitzi Cunliffe, designer of the BAFTA trophy (©Estate of the Artist) and the sculpture Loosestrife

Every year some of the most famous faces on the planet are photographed hugging a stylised golden mask. It is a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) trophy. Let’s go behind the mask to discover its brilliant designer, Mitzi Cunliffe, who also created the spikiest artwork in our collection …

Having cake, but not eating it

Posted on: 10 March 2021 | Category: 2021

A royal relic - the cake that nobody ate

Tucked inside an ornate sewing box, carefully wrapped in tissue, is one of the oddest and most enigmatic items in our collection. It is a royal relic and the legacy of someone who had their cake, but didn’t eat it.

Sophie's Sheroes

Posted on: 19 February 2021 | Category: 2021

Sophie Green's Sheroe artwork including Marsha P Johnson, Kate Bornstein and Laverne Cox

February is LGBT history month and this year the VG&M asked me if I’d look back on my own little history project from 2017.

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    The Two Shipwrecks of the Circassian

    Abandoning the Circassian by Clarkson Stanfield (Detail)

    Posted on: 29 July 2021 | Category: 2021

    Hanging in our Nature v Humans exhibition is a painting of a dramatic shipwreck during a turbulent storm. The stricken Liverpool-bound vessel is called the Circassian and this is a fictional scene. However, forty years later, a real ship from Liverpool with the same name also foundered in an episode brimming with heroism and tragedy.

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Disclaimer

We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought.

The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.