Liverpool museums reveal new autumn exhibitions and gallery reopening


An exhibition dedicated to Walter Sickert, a display of William De Morgan ceramics and the reopening of a major gallery space are among the autumn programme unveiled by National Museums Liverpool.

Meanwhile the organisation’s award-winning House of Memories is going out on the road with a mobile immersive experience, and World Museum will host this year’s Vogue Ball run by House of Suarez.

With restrictions still in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the autumn and winter programme was revealed in a live event online.

The Walker Art Gallery will continue its popular series of standalone exhibitions with a major retrospective, Sickert: A Life in Art, which opens on September 18.

The gallery holds the largest collection of the German-born British artist’s drawings in the world – most of which have never been displayed before, and the new paid for exhibition will showcase around 100 loaned paintings and 200 drawings.

Four of the six large-scale paintings commissioned from the post-Impressionist painter and printmaker for the dining room at the Hôtel de la Plage in Dieppe in 1902 will be on show.

The paintings, which will be brought together for the first time since the early 1900s, are now considered to be among Sickert’s greatest artistic achievements.

Charlotte Keenan McDonald, lead curator of fine art (British art), at the Walker, said: “Walter Richard Sickert was a radical painter, who determined to capture society as he saw it – regardless of whether this ‘rawness’ offended his audiences.

“He repeatedly reinvented himself, pushing his art in new and unexpected directions. He sought to combine a technical interest in painting with his conviction that art should reflect the modern world.

"Visitors to the exhibition will experience first-hand how Sickert chronicled Britain during a period of rapid change through an outstanding and uncompromising body of work.”

Tickets go on sale this Friday.

Jodie Comer as Villanelle in Killing Eve. Credit: Sid Gentle Films Ltd


The Museum of Liverpool, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, is set to reopen its second floor Wondrous Place gallery on November 26 with new displays and interactive elements alongside favourites from the original space.

There will be around 650 exhibits in all, with new displays exploring Liverpool on Stage and Screen – including one of Villanelle actress Jodie Comer’s costumes from Killing Eve - and a focus on Liverpool’s creative videogaming industry.

New objects include running shoes worn by 2019 World Champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson - on loan from the Liverpool Harriers, Spice Girl Mel C’s stage outfit, Garry Christian’s hat and sunglasses and Natasha Jonas’ Miss GB boxing shorts.

Over the Mersey, the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight is due to stage an exhibition of work by the Victorian tile designer and potter William De Morgan.

Sublime Symmetry: De Morgan Ceramics, running from October 1 to January 9, will feature around 70 objects on loan from The De Morgan Foundation.

Bee Plate by William De Morgan. Courtesy of the De Morgan Foundation


The exhibition will include an exploration of De Morgan’s career and the influence of William Morris on his early work, as well as how Islamic Art and De Morgan’s rediscovery of lustre, a thousand years after it was first used by potters in the Middle East, shaped his art.

House of Suarez’s annual Vogue Ball comes to World Museum on October 23 as part of NML’s newly curated programme of events designed to reconnect audiences with its venues and collections.

Night at the Poseum will feature Captain Rikki Beadle-Blair as Master of Ceremonies as Houses from across the UK compete for catwalk supremacy in categories such as Fantasy, Solo, Lip Synch, Sex Siren and Choreography.

Finally, the Museum of Liverpool’s acclaimed House of Memories dementia awareness programme, is going ‘on the road’ with 30sqm mobile classroom (pictured below) which opens up into an immersive cinema and exhibition space, offering a virtual front door to NML.

Experiences will range from a trip on Liverpool’s overhead railway and a visit to a 1950s grocery store to a virtual day out at the seaside or a forest.

And later this year, the International Slavery Museum will launch a new education programme for schools about the legacies of the transatlantic slave trade later in the year. The programme will offer two virtual classrooms, one for Key stage 2 and another for key stage 3 pupils.

Workshops will be delivered online and led by a member of the museum’s learning and participation team, while a complimentary suite of pre and post-workshop digital resources will also be available to support pupil’s learning of the subject outside of the museum.

National Museums Liverpool director Laura Pye said: “After a really tough year, with our venues being closed more often than they’ve been open, we're delighted to announce our exciting programme for Autumn/Winter.”


Image top: Margate in the Time of Turner, 1930, Walter Richard Sickert. © Kirklees Collection: Huddersfield Art Gallery