Lady Lever Art Gallery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lady Lever Art Gallery
Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight - IMG 0915.JPG
Lady Lever Art Gallery Building
Established 1922 (1922)
Location Port Sunlight, Merseyside
Coordinates 53°21′21″N 2°59′58″W / 53.355755°N 2.9993981°W / 53.355755; -2.9993981
Visitors 194,923 (2017)[1]

In the Tepidarium, Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)
John Everett Millais, Spring (Apple Blossoms)

The Lady Lever Art Gallery is a museum founded and built by the industrialist and philanthropist William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme and opened in 1922. The museum is a significant surviving example of late Victorian and Edwardian taste. The Lady Lever Art Gallery is set in the garden village of Port Sunlight, close to Liverpool. It houses major collections of fine and decorative art that are an expression of Lord Leverhulme’s personal taste and collecting interests. The collection is strongest in British 19th-century painting and sculpture, spilling over to include late 18th-century and early 20th works. There are also important collections of English furniture, Wedgwood, especially jasperware, and Chinese ceramics, and smaller groups of other types of objects, such as Ancient Greek vases and Roman sculpture. The majority of objects were part of the original donation, but the collection has continued to expand at a modest rate.

The Grade II listed gallery is now part of National Museums Liverpool.[2] In 2015 part of the museum was closed for building works, with little of the ceramics collections on display, but most of the other collections. A touring exhibition visited museums in Japan and elsewhere. The redeveloped areas re-opened in spring 2016.[3]

The museum displays mostly mix paintings, sculpture and furniture together, and there are five "Period Rooms" recreating typical period interiors from large houses.


Lever began collecting art in the late 19th century, largely to use in advertising for the popular Sunlight Soap brand (manufactured a few minutes' walk from the gallery) that helped to create his fortune. As he grew richer his collections began to expand, his confidence grew as well and he developed a taste for collecting. He mostly collected British art, but he was also fascinated by Chinese art,[4] Roman sculpture and Greek vases, which he had chosen to collect to show styles that had influenced British artists in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.

In 2016, the South End galleries were restored to their original architecture style as part of a £2.8 million restoration project. The work included opening up original doorways to increase the circulation of visitors, improving the lighting and restoring some of the original vaulted ceilings.[5]


The Gallery has good representation of several trends in Victorian painting, including the Pre-Raphaelites, both during the period of the Brotherhood and in their subsequent careers. Concern with social conditions, classical revivalism and later historical painting are all represented. There are important works by Millais, Ford Madox Brown, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Lord Leighton, and many others. The museum has what appears to be the largest display in any museum of paintings by William Etty. Earlier works include those by Turner, Constable, Gainsborough and Reynolds.

Much of the Wedgwood collection was from the collection of Dudley Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth, bought in 1905. This in turn was partly formed from the collection of Charles Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood's grandson. It is probably the best collection of jasperware in the world.[6]

The collection includes:

The Building[edit]

Commissioned in 1913 from architects William and Segar Owen, the Lady Lever Art Gallery was built in the Beaux-Arts style.[7] The building was opened in 1922 by Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ALVA | Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". Retrieved 11 April 2018. 
  2. ^ National Museums Liverpool
  3. ^ "Exciting plans for the Lady Lever Art Gallery", from National Museums Liverpool
  4. ^ "Chinese collection - online catalogue", A record of the collection formed by the 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851-1925)"
  5. ^ "South End galleries - Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool museums". Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  6. ^ Collections, "Wedgwood",
  7. ^ Davis, The Public Catalogue Foundation. Coord.: Siobhan (2013). Oil paintings in public ownership in national museums of Liverpool. [S.l.]: The Public Catalogue Foundation. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-909475-08-3. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°21′21″N 2°59′57″W / 53.3558°N 2.9993°W / 53.3558; -2.9993