Port Sunlight / Lady Lever Art Gallery
William Hesketh Lever established the gallery to enrich the cultural and educational aspects of the lives of his workforce and the public at large.The Lady Lever Art Gallery was opened in 1922 by Princess Beatrice (youngest daughter of Queen Victoria). It is probably the best surviving example of late Victorian and Edwardian taste.
|The collection concentrates heavily on the period roughly between
1750 and 1900, charting the foundation and rise of the Royal Academy, the golden age of
British landscape painting and Victorian art.
Lever's acquistion of antiquities started in earnest after 1913 when he decided to found the gallery. He wanted to show the main influences for English neo-classical art and in particular for his collection of wedgwood.
The greatest part of the collection is porcelain of the Kangxi period, the bulk of which were the blue-and-white and the enamelled porcelains. After the decision to found a public museum, Lever's tastes were broadened to include examples of lacquer, cloisonne and Canton enamel.
Josiah Wedgwood (1730 - 1795) revolutionised English pottery and turned the hitherto humble artform into the realms of fashionable taste. Jasperware, the slightly translucent stoneware was Wedgwood's most famous product, many fine examples of which can be found in the gallery together the 'old wedgwood' of the Tweedmouth pieces.
REPRODUCED BY PERMISSION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES ON MERSEYSIDE, LADY LEVER ART GALLERY,PORT SUNLIGHT. NO AUTHORISED COPYING OF THESE IMAGES IS PERMITTED
|The five period rooms provide a historical context for Lever's
presentation of developments in English furniture. Other exhibits represent Lever's
fascination with 18th century furntiure.
The textile collection heavily reflects Lever's fascination with British embroidery - he saw this type of decorative art as reflective of the high level of skill and craft English workers could achieve.
The broad scope of the works on display is a testament to Lever's commitment to 18th century classicism and especially to Victorian high art. The unusual bronzes complement the fabled masterpieces of Burne-Jones, Rossetti, Waterhouse and Leighton.
The principal components are ethnographic and Masonic and miscellaneous items such as watches and sundials. The collection demonstrates Lever's desire to combine social benevolence with his commercial activities.