Liverpool’s Bluecoat brings its 300th anniversary celebrations to a close with a final 2017 exhibition titled In The Peaceful Dome.
The show opens next month. And ahead of that, arts chiefs at the historic School Lane venue have launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £5,000 to help bring a Sir Jacob Epstein sculpture back to Liverpool.
Genesis, a marble figure of a heavily pregnant woman, which is currently on loan to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester, was exhibited at the Bluecoat in 1931 when it caused a stir among audiences with almost 50,000 people paying 6d each to see the controversial sculpture.
Another of Epstein’s works, of course, is Liverpool Resurgent – better known as Dickie Lewis – on the former Lewis’s building in Renshaw Street.
While in 1931, Genesis was wheeled up a makeshift ramp on a trolley, in 2017 it needs very specialist – and costly – transport to move it from Manchester to Liverpool.
Genesis arriving at the Bluecoat 1931. Image thanks to Peter Hopgood
Bluecoat artistic director Bryan Biggs says: “Genesis is a really important part of our history and had such an impact in the city when first shown. It will be a fitting finale to our 300th anniversary programme, which has seen special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
“We’re especially pleased to have the opportunity to present Epstein's work to new audiences as part of In the Peaceful Dome, and hope people get behind the campaign to support the exhibition and the display of this important sculpture.”
Money raised through the Crowdfunder campaign will also help fund the free exhibition, which will trace threads that connect Bluecoat’s history with the present through a combination of new commissions, existing work including significant loans from public and private collections.
Edward Carter Preston's Abstract Landscape 1911. Credit: Carter Preston Foundation Trust, Liverpool Hope University Collection
Visitors will be able to see works by members of the Sandon Studios Society, which established the Bluecoat as an arts centre, including Edward Carter Preston and Roderick Bisson, Will C Penn’s painted portraits of Black men in Liverpool in the 1920s and 30s, films by Janet Hodgson, Uriel Orlow and Grace Ndiritu, and a new installation by Joanna Masding.
In The Peaceful Dome runs from October 13 to March 25. More details on the Crowdfunder campaign are available HERE