I visited The Walker for the first time in December 2008, during the final weeks of The Walker Prize Competition winners' exhibition. Some works were innovative, some thought-provoking, and some downright obscene. It was the first time I'd ever seen a note that parental guidance was required for children attending the exhibition.
The main collection stuns and impresses the visitor. It is predominantly Western, and the earliest piece on display at the time of my visit dated back to 12 or 13th century. Still, the variety of work on display embraces the better part of Western art, including El Greco, Poussin, and Rembrandt. On display, as well, are Italian furniture and majolica, and a medieval tapestry.
Several halls trace the history of Pre-Raphaelism, with some very well-known paintings by Rossetti, Watts, and Hunt. A lot of attention is also given to ancient, modern, and contemporary sculpture and applied arts.
The visit can be rounded off is a small cafe with a drink of delicious hot chocolate with marshmallows. The atmosphere of the museum is relaxed, yet refined. It is nowhere as busy as the British Museum, and the experience of being there feels more like meandering through a stately home collection, kindly put on public display but its owner.
Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery, housed in a distinguished neo-classical building in the heart of the city, is one of Europe's outstanding art collections. It's a must-see on any visit to the city.
The origins of the collection go back to 1819, when the Liverpool Royal Institution acquired the collection of William Roscoe, to avoid it being broken up on his death. Over the succeeding years, a growing movement of art and cultural awarness in Liverpool led to a regular programme of art and exhibitions, hosted by various organisations and modelled on those established in London.
But the impetus was given the real boost it needed when, in 1873, Andrew Barclay Walker offered to present an art gallery to Liverpool to mark his term as the city's Mayor. The imposing edifice of the Walker Art Gallery opened its doors in 1877.
Over subsequent years, the collection has been expanded and enhanced, with a particular emphasis on acquiring both contemporary and traditional works.
The main attractions are:
- Italian and Netherland schools from 1350-1550;
- European art from 1550-1900 including works by Rembrandt, Poussin, Degas, Millais, Cezanne, Rubens, Monet, Delaroche, Picasso, Degas and Tissot;
- 18th and 19th century British art including Reynolds, Turner, Stubbs (an outstanding selection), Landseer, Gainsborough and Hogarth;
- one of the world's foremost collections of Pre-Raphaelite works;
- a wide collection of prints, drawings and watercolours;
- 20th century works by artists such as Lucian Freud, Augustus John, David Hockney and Gilbert and George.
Highlights include 'When did you last see your father?' by Yeames, Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII and 'Dante's Dream' by Rossetti. Personal favourites of mine are the dark and evocative 'Ruins of Holyrood Chapel', by Louis Daguerre (inventor of the photographic method) and, epitomising Victorian sentimental art, 'The Promise', by Henry Tuke.
There's the usual cafe and shop, and an active programme of exhibitions, lectures and tours. The museum caters well for children, with a specialised gallery 'Big Art for Little Artists', aimed at those up to 8 years old, with all sorts of art-based activities for children and their parents to enjoy together. There's also a gallery trail focussing on art likely to interest children and young people. Baby changing facilities, pram storage and a children's menu in the cafe are also provided. The gallery is fully accessible to those using wheelchairs.
Finally, the web-site has a huge selection of paintings available on-line, as well as information about current exhibitions.
Another great free place to go in liverpool. always something differant to see, i would recommend it to anyone.
There is also great services such a toilets and cafe and of course the all imprortant gift shop.Which is always well stocked and staff always know what they are talking about.
They walker art gallery building is just fabulous so beautiful so get a fre pics of that. They also do a little artists area for childrenmy daughter was 4 at the time and really did enjoy going her. Its a nice touch as art galleries generally do not appeal to children.
The Walker is, in my opinion, one of the jewels in Liverpool's crown. The beautiful building houses a vast collection of paintings and sculptures spanning centuries of art. Among my favourite artists found there are David Hockney, Lucien Freud and John Everett Millais. Yeames's 'When Did You Last See Your Father?' is just one of many fascinating examples of narrative paintings that you could look at for hours, delving imaginatively into the characters and their situations. There are also regular exhibitions, such as the recent Cityscape by Ben Johnson, featuring an impressive array of the artist's panoramas from cities around the world, including Liverpool.
When you're done with the artwork, there's a lovely cafe - but make sure to set enough time aside. I recently waited fifteen minutes for a cup of tea!
I've been here a couple of times with our kids (now aged 4 and 5) and they've certainly enjoyed themselves.
Admittedly we haven't got much beyond the 'Big Art for Little Artists' area -- but that's because there's a lot of art-related activities to do there, which could keep our kids occupied for hours! We did start to explore some footprints which led up into the main part of the gallery but I'm afraid interest soon waned. Perhaps it didn't seem quite as exciting as the kids' bags you can pick up in the Manchester Art Gallery (which they've been to a lot more times).
The Walker is easily accessible from Liverpool Lime Street and I'm sure our kids will come to appreciate more of its considerable treasures in years to come.
The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool houses one of Europe's finest collections of paintings, drawings, sculpture and decorative art
There is a shop at the Walker selling jewellery, postcards, prints, books and gifts. There is a lowered service point.
great cafe with lots of nice ffood.. not to expensive
This place is amazing. Not only is it set in the most glorious of architectural surroundings, but it also has a lot to offer once you get inside.
The artworks here are exquisite and what many people would agree as being 'beautiful'. Most would be able to find something they liked here, as they have ancient and modern works from both a classical and a contemporary perspective. They also have regular exhibitions which are expansive and worth going to see - and they are nearly always free!
I don;t think you can really complain too much about something that is free and open to all like the Walker. It's a jewel in Liverpool's crown and well worth a visit if you love art or if you are just sightseeing.
One of the oldest galleries in Liverpool and in my opinion one of the best and most rewarding. It is a perfect place to take people who are visting and the surrounding area is full of things to do. Its exhibitions are full of variety and cater for all tastes.
A great exhibition space with a permanent and changing exhibition. Beautiful building. Fabulous childrens art centre and quizzes which they they follow around the gallery. Got to be one of the best galleries outside of London.
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