Sunday, August 30, 2009

Port Sunlight and the Lady Lever Art Gallery

Mum and Roger came over to stay last week and we had a trip, with Colin, to Port Sunlight and also the Lady Lever Art Gallery.

It was a lovely day, the flower beds were looking great and we were mightily impressed with the war memorial erected by Lever Bros, probably the most splendid in all the country. The museum was open and we enjoyed looking round, and watching the short film of the history of Port Sunlight, although I did think it was a bit dear, I am so used to getting into our national museums for free that it was a shock to have to pay.

We had a look round the Lady Lever - a lot of it is not to my taste, lots of dark victorian stuff and horrible chinese vases, but Roger enjoyed Whistler's etchings. There were some lovely Pre-Raph paintings, some quite famous, it is funny to think of them hanging just up the road. Also I saw the original of the painting often used on wedding cards, I forget its name, but it is Victorian and the bride is in front of the hearth, in her dress, fastening her veil while others watch. Is it called Wedding morning?

Definitely well worth a visit if you have not been for a while


Dawn @ the Museums said...

Yes, it is The Wedding Morning. This one:

Professor Y. Chucklebutty said...

Ahh Port Sunlight, money for old soap. I used to visit the village regularly with friends pretending to be the late Patrick McGoogle as Number Six in "The Prisoner" We didn't have the big white balloon to chase me through the garden and suffocate me, so Mr Clack who made a very good Number 2 would often inflate a spare condom and chase me with it. ( he was given a crate of them during the war, they were meant to be distributed amongst the platoon but as he fancied himself, he thought they were all for him. I think he only ever used two and they were to water bomb a chicken) But I also used to be a regular visitor to the Lady Lever. I love the Victoriana and the building itself, I am particularly fond of the Big Grandfather clock or should I say Grandmother as the design and shape always puts me in mind of Mae West. The most buxom clock in Britain. Some of the paintings are truly beautiful. I adore Millais, The Scapegoat, even though friends have called it a depressing picture, the small water colour pre sketch for it is in the city gallery in Manchester and Al Fresco Toilet by Luke Fildes which hangs proudly over one of the mantel shelves at home. perhaps the oddest painting though is the one by ex Liverpool Footballer and 66 squad Roger Holman Hunt. (one of the pre Raphael Benitezites) Sir Isumbras crossing the ball.

Now I say I used to frequent there, I haven't been for a while not since a few years back I committed a terrible sin. I dared to read some comments in the visitors book one afternoon amazed at from how far and wide the visitors had recently come. I would sometimes write some sensible complimentary line. But no sooner had i turned a page, than a frizzie haired lady in her prsion guard uniform raced from behind the desk demanding to know what I was doing. Reading some of the comments I said. She took the book to one side and said you are not allowed to look through it. I politely questioned this alleged policy stating that this is a public document sureley on display and it is good to be able to read what people have thought. No she said it's not allowed and closed the book, glaring at me.

Now I didn't have jam on my fingers, I was quite respectable, respectful and sober and I suggested that it seemed ridiculous that you are allowed, nay encouraged to write a comment in the book but not allowed to look at it. No you are not allowed, now can you leave the book alone please! she said very sternly. I said in response I really think you should do some customer service training either that or you are in the wrong job and bid her goodbye. Do you know I haven't been back since.

So thank you for reminding me, I will soon make another visit and hope that the reception is staffed by somebody a little more welcoming. It is a lovely gallery.