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.

“Unclouded Skies of Brilliant Azure”: The work of Caroline Emily Gray Hill

Posted on: 8 March 2022 | Category: 2022

“Landscape with a Lake Surrounded by Mountains at Sunset” Caroline Emily Gray Hill Oil on Canvas. VG&M Collection

Pictured above is the artwork that captured my imagination and led me to write this article and find out the story of the artist. It’s subtle and economic brush marks placed against the vivid colours and simple composition produces a wonderful effect. The capturing of a moment, without over or underworking the image is what I find inherently enthralling. Being a Victorian woman, her story is also a fascinating look into women’s rights of the era.

Linda Stein: Gender and Sexuality in Art

Posted on: 25 February 2022 | Category: 2022

‘Profile Collage 443.010’ from Stein’s Profiles series. (Image used with permission from the artist).

To celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month in February, this blog recognises the work of the American artist Linda Stein, and the influences upon her art having grown up during the time of LGBTQ+ struggles.

A Victorian Valentine – Balconies and Beau’s

Posted on: 14 February 2022 | Category: 2022

First floor balcony rail showing wear and tear to some of the original Waterhouse tiles.

It’s the month of February and love is all around! If you look at our tiles, the majority are still in pristine condition after almost 130 years but there’s one particular section of the building where some worn tiles can tell us a Victorian love story.

The Students and the Sphinx

Posted on: 21 January 2022 | Category: 2022

The Sphinx Magazine 1926 and an illustration of a student outside the Victoria Building, University of Liverpool Special Collections & Archives.

In our previous VG&M building history blogs, we have looked at the construction and opening of the Victoria Building so now we delve into the Sphinx Magazine to find out what the students really thought of their brand-new building.

Hannah Barlow: Decorating with Animals

Posted on: 24 December 2021 | Category: 2021

Detail of lion vase (left) and (right) photo of Hannah Barlow c.1877 (Creative Commons licence)

One of the most magnificent artworks in our collection is a large vase decorated with a frieze of lions all the way round it. They were drawn freehand by a remarkable artist who overcame physical and financial adversity to rise to the top of her profession: Hannah Barlow.

A Warm Welcome with a Biscuit

Posted on: 10 December 2021 | Category: 2021

Victoria Building Evening Reception programme from the 14th December 1892

In our previous Victoria Building history blog we found out more about the construction of the Victoria Building and that after many delays, it finally opened publicly on the 13th December 1892. In this blog we find out more about the eventful opening ceremony that happened on the following evening.

The Bidston Hill Signals Mug: A Who's Who of the Liverpool Slave Trade

Posted on: 26 November 2021 | Category: 2021

Extract from a view of Liverpool by John Thomas Serres (1759–1825), 1797. Courtesy of the British Library, public domain.

Sometimes, otherwise unassuming objects in the Victoria Gallery & Museum can give a remarkable insight into an abominable and infamous past. One such object is the Bidston Hill signals creamware mug, currently on display in Gallery 1, which unlocks a glimpse at an important period in Liverpool’s maritime history: when the Transatlantic Slave Trade was thriving.

Faience and Fiascos

Posted on: 12 November 2021 | Category: 2021

Faience Tiles from interior of VG&M

In our previous Victoria Building History blog we learnt more about the original college building which had opened in 1882 and was based in the old asylum building on Ashton Street.\nThe college rapidly grew and it was not long before the inadequacies of the building became apparent and so in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the College launched a fundraising appeal for the erection of a purpose-built headquarters. The College’s Council asked Liverpool-born architect Alfred Waterhouse to draw up plans and in this blog we take a close look at the construction of the Victoria Building.

The Black Girl’s Silhouette

Posted on: 29 October 2021 | Category: 2021

The Black Girl’s Silhouette Portrait

In 1770s Ormskirk, a young Black woman sat still while a visitor cut paper in the shape of her profile. We have been left with her likeness, a note about her character but not her name or life story, so our research about her is ongoing. Here’s what we know so far …

    Blog

    “Unclouded Skies of Brilliant Azure”: The work of Caroline Emily Gray Hill

    Posted on: 8 March 2022 | Category: 2022

    “Landscape with a Lake Surrounded by Mountains at Sunset” Caroline Emily Gray Hill Oil on Canvas. VG&M Collection

    Pictured above is the artwork that captured my imagination and led me to write this article and find out the story of the artist. It’s subtle and economic brush marks placed against the vivid colours and simple composition produces a wonderful effect. The capturing of a moment, without over or underworking the image is what I find inherently enthralling. Being a Victorian woman, her story is also a fascinating look into women’s rights of the era.

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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.