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.

Stranger Loves: a Brief History of LGBTQ+ Science Fiction

Posted on: 11 February 2021 | Category: 2021

Front covers of Fledgling (2005), A Song for a New Day (2020) and Exquisite Corpse (1996).

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month we have invited Dr Phoenix Alexander, the University’s Science Fiction Collections Librarian, to outline the history of LGBTQ+ themes in the genre. \n\nThe University of Liverpool Library's Special Collections and Archives houses the largest catalogued collection of science fiction in Europe, encompassing over 35,000 books and 2, 500 periodicals, as well as the archives of some of the major science fiction writers of the twentieth century. Join us on a tour through the LGBTQIA+ history of science fiction, showcasing just a handful of items from the stacks.

John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Posted on: 29 January 2021 | Category: 2021

Audubon Gallery in the VG&M

The 27th January 2021 will mark the 170th anniversary of the death of the American naturalist and artist John James Audubon, the author/creator of what is now one of the most valuable printed books in the world. Only 120 complete copies are known to have survived, but one of them is on display at Liverpool Central Library. \n\nHere at the Victoria Gallery & Museum we are fortunate to be the custodians of the largest group of original artworks by Audubon outside North America. So how did these rare artworks end up in the collection of the \nUniversity of Liverpool?\n

Story of the Willow Pattern

Posted on: 15 January 2021 | Category: 2021

Traditional Willow Pattern (detail)

Blue and white ‘Willow Pattern’ tableware is considered traditionally British, seen on plates, dishes and tea services on dressers and sideboards across the land. The pattern is clearly inspired by China, and its story certainly starts there, but we need to go back a long, long way to find out why.

Away with the Fairies

Posted on: 18 December 2020 | Category: 2020

Two adult fairies are shown from the waist up plus two boy fairies follow. They fly towards the left.

Outside, Winter’s long, dark nights are bringing frost-tipped chills, so far nicer to stay inside and curl up with a book about mystical enchantments, magical creatures and monstrous beasts. And who better to illustrate our story but Arthur Rackham? Here is the bewitching tale of one of our visitors’ favourite paintings: Twilight Dreams.

Packing in a Pandemic - Moving the museum store

Posted on: 11 December 2020 | Category: 2020

A seal skeleton being packed away ready for the move.

This time last year, it was with mixed emotion that the curator of the Heritage Collections and I received the news that we would be getting a new Heritage Store. Hooray! - we thought - much improved storage at last, oh but hang on… the thought of moving more than 14,000 objects from our current store to our shiny new store was daunting indeed - and that’s putting it mildly. \n

Liverpool and Manchester Railway

Posted on: 27 November 2020 | Category: 2020

A railway line runs diagonally across the image from top left to bottom right, and a steam locomotive pulling three coaches heads to the bottom right. Another steam train can be seen in the far distance. A patchwork of flat fields lie either side of the track. This is a section of the second image down

We are going to celebrate Lancashire Day with a look at a world-changing innovation that spans the historic county from one great city to another and is still used today: the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. \n

Spare a Thought for Samuel Pepys!

Posted on: 13 November 2020 | Category: 2020

Bladder stone crusher from the Medical Museum Collection

‘What is the purpose of this strange looking instrument?’ I hear you ask.\n\nThis is a bladder stone crusher from the Medical Museum Collection, part of the University Heritage Collections. Note the ivory handles and the beautifully crafted mechanism.

Liverpool by Tony Phillips

Posted on: 30 October 2020 | Category: 2020

A young girl with brown skin and dark brown shoulder-length curly hair looks up at a stone sculpture of a lion lying on a plinth with its head raised and its paws near the girl’s head. The girl wears a jacket of pale greeny-yellow with white sleeves.  Behind them are buildings jumbled upwards.  This is a detail of the picture below.

A young girl looks up at one of the famous stone lions outside St George’s Hall in Liverpool. How does she and the lion represent our city’s past and hopes for the future? Let’s look closer at this painting by Liverpool-born artist Tony Phillips and find out more.

In Celebration of Hagfish Day!

Posted on: 21 October 2020 | Category: 2020

VG&M Hagfish

Most people agree that one of the most repulsive specimens in our Nightmares in a Bell Jar display is the hagfish – but this doesn’t mean that hagfish don’t deserve our attention and protection. That is the message behind Hagfish day, which is on the third Wednesday of October – every year. \n

More than just a Cheeky Bum

Posted on: 16 October 2020 | Category: 2020

The Sluggard Close Up

In recent weeks a particular part of one of our sculptures has been getting a lot of attention: its buttocks. They have featured in the Liverpool Echo and on various social media platforms including one called @museumbums (yes, really …). But there is more to ‘The Sluggard’ than its pert behind, so let’s get to the bottom of the story. \n

    Blog

    Stranger Loves: a Brief History of LGBTQ+ Science Fiction

    Posted on: 11 February 2021 | Category: 2021

    Front covers of Fledgling (2005), A Song for a New Day (2020) and Exquisite Corpse (1996).

    To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month we have invited Dr Phoenix Alexander, the University’s Science Fiction Collections Librarian, to outline the history of LGBTQ+ themes in the genre. The University of Liverpool Library's Special Collections and Archives houses the largest catalogued collection of science fiction in Europe, encompassing over 35,000 books and 2, 500 periodicals, as well as the archives of some of the major science fiction writers of the twentieth century. Join us on a tour through the LGBTQIA+ history of science fiction, showcasing just a handful of items from the stacks.

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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.