Sudley House reopens with a new exhibition which features paintings capturing images of Home and Away.
The free display at the Mossley Hill mansion, run by National Museums Liverpool, encompasses oils depicting foreign scenes which are held within the George Holt collection and also paintings drawn from the vast archives of the Walker Art Gallery.
Merchant and shipping magnate Holt, who lived at Sudley House from 1884 until his death in 1896, drew together a large collection of artwork from the 1860s onwards and the Holt family itself was well-travelled.
In 1842 he and his sister Anne travelled to Germany, and a decade later she and their parents toured the United States.
The ‘home’ section of the exhibition includes Robert Salomon’s 1806 painting of the Town Hall, illuminated to mark a visit by the Prince of Wales (later George IV), along with images of Bold Street, Water Street and a bustling St John’s Market captured during the early 1890s by Liverpool artist Charles Trevor Prescott. There are also two works by John Atkinson Grimshaw which feature the old Customs House.
The ‘away’ artworks from the Holt collection include views of Europe and beyond including an early view of the Susquehanna River at Wilkesbarre in Pennsylvania, painted by Thomas Creswick, and a study of Circus Maximus in Rome by the important French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Holt was one of a number of 19th century Liverpool merchants to collect works of art, but his is the only collection to survive intact thanks to his daughter Emma who bequeathed it to the city of Liverpool in 1944.
Home and Away curator Jessie Petheram, who started planning the exhibition last autumn, said: “We wanted to show a bit more of the Holt collection and we noticed he had a lot of views of Europe.
"We thought they would be complemented nicely by views of Liverpool, some of which we have had on display together before.”
The landing at Sudley House
She had a wide collection of works to choose from but admits the final choices were partly dictated by the space available at Sudley House which was built in the early 1800s as a family home rather than an art gallery.
“There’s a fantastic painting in Holt’s collection of people riding camels in the Egyptian desert, but it’s enormous and would have been too big for the rest of the exhibition.
“Home and Away is a wonderful chance for visitors to Sudley to get a greater understanding of the global, social and visual culture surrounding the Holt family.
“And what it does show very clearly is that the 19th century wasn’t inward-looking.”
Sudley House reopens to visitors tomorrow with Covid-safe measures in place including pre-booking of timed tickets, face coverings and hand sanitiser stations.
Home and Away is on display at Sudley House from September 30. Book a visit at the website HERE