Monday, 9 April 2012

Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight 2

Here we are back in the Lady Lever gallery for a second look at a few more exhibits.

Many of the pictures in the gallery have been used by the Lever brothers to advertise their products. The most famous of these is this one by Millais.

The presence of a bar of Pears soap in this painting suggests it was commissioned with a view to advertising.

Here's how you may have seen them before.

A crystal Buddha - I'm not sure what it's made of exactly though.

I would say this one is carved out of amethyst.

This elephant looks pretty pleased with himself.

Just to make us Scottish people feel at home, our very own Walter Scott.

This piece is La Jeune Fille au Coquillage by Jean Baptiste Joseph De Bay (not to be confused with his son, another sculptor of exactly the same name) looks quite modern, late 19th or early half of the 20th century to me, but what do I know as he died in 1863 at the age of 84.

This Painting by Elizabeth Vigee-le Brun is of Lady Hamilton as a Bacchante. Emma Hamilton has gone down in history as Nelson's Mistress.

As mentioned in the first visit here two blogs ago, Andromeda makes several appearances in the gallery. This one is by William Etty.

In a drawer in one of the galleries, I wonder how many people walk straight past it, is a collection miniatures. One of the finest is this little portrait of Queen Victoria.

Three from a collection of oriental snuff bottles.

At either end of the building there is a sculpture hall - that's not to say that there isn't plenty of sculpture everywhere else. This piece is Salammbo (from a novel by Gustave Flaubert) by Desire Maurice Ferrary.

Edward Onslow Ford seems to have been a favorite of Lord Lever - there's certainly plenty of his pieces here. This one is called Dancing.

Outside the gallery is this monument to William Hesketh Lever who founded the company and indeed the gallery

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Steam - Great Western Railway Museum at Swindon

While I was down in Wiltshire, I had an hour or so between meeting friends so I popped into the Great Western's railway museum in Swindon. I could easily have killed a couple of hours in there.

The Great Western Railway was founded in 1833 and had its first trains running in 1938. It linked London with the South West and West of England and was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. It made many of it engines at it's workshops in Swindon, which is where the museum and a shopping outlet are now to be found. This engine, the Hinton Manor, has found it's way out of the museum into the shopping centre.

Apart from engines, the museum shows much about the factory that made them, right down to offices and the stores.

They had a foundry on the site where many of the metal parts were cast.

This exhibit shows the boiler shop. During the war they had women in doing the jobs that had previously been done by men.

The production of carriages

Here's Isambard himself.

This replica of the North Star was built in 1923 after the original had been scrapped in 1906. Built originally in 1837 for the New Orleans and Carrolltown railway by Robert Stevenson and Company it was bought by GWR when the American venture failed.

This is the Caerphilly Castle, the first of 171 Castle class engines to be built between 1923 and 1950 of which on 8 survive today. It cost £5565 pound when it was built which is the equivalent of £100000 in todays money.

 Weighing 160 tons, she would burn 3 tons of coal between London and Swindon. When she was taken out of service in 1960 she was thought to have done over a million miles.

You don't realise how big some engines are till you stand next to one.

This particular engine is something of a celebrity, having been exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembly in 1924 and was taken to the science museum in London in 1961 after she retired. 

My thanks to Views of Wells for letting me use this picture which shows the Caerphilly castle being transported to the museum by road in 1961. There's a 10 minute film about the move to be seen here.

Not so impressive but just as important, a Dean Goods Locomotive.

For much of it's history, transfers to and from the train would be by horse and cart.

This is the Ditcheat Manor. She can be seen in action in 2005 here.

This coach is one from a train used by Queen Victoria.

It might not be at it's plushest now.....

.........but back in the day it was rather swanky.

This is the Streamlined Diesel Railcar No 4 - it is one of 38 first brought into service in 1934. It has a drivers cab at either end and came complete with a little buffet section. It was given the nickname the flying banana.

 It looks like a golf buggy but I'm sure your local golf course would be dismayed to see you driving this across it's fairways. It's actually a track inspection vehicle.

This is the Lode Star.

Here I am where every small boy wants to be at some point in their lives.

Journey's end and a little end of pier entertainment.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight 1

The Liverpool area is in easy striking distance of much of Wales on a day so Bev and I headed off to see the Lady Lever Gallery at Port Sunlight. It would have been easier if we'd had some clear instructions on how to get there, perhaps been more sensible to take a map and having any idea about where it was at all, other than near Liverpool, would have helped. After driving under the Mersey twice and getting a close up view of the Liver Birds on the Liver building in the city centre, we found where we were going.

Port Sunlight is a model village (that's idealistic model rather than small model) that was built from 1888 onwards by the Lever Brother to accommodate workers for it's soap factory. It took it's name from one of the company's brands of soap, Sunlight. In a pond which hadn't been filled (probably due to the time of year) we saw this statue.

In 1922, William Lever, the 1st Viscount Leverhume, found that his art collection had reached quite substantial porportions and so had this gallery built at Port Sunlight. He called it The Lady Lever Gallery in memory of his wife.

I normally grab a picture of the information attached to a work unless I think it obvious and I'm going to remember. Sometimes I get it wrong, and against what I thought, I have no idea who this is by. It doesn't seem to want to appear on a surf either - it'll be one of the main preraphelites I think - anyone know, feel free to say. It's rather lovely anyway.

No problem here though, this is Sir Edward Burne-Jones, The Tree of Forgiveness.

As well as paintings there's a lot of wonderful sculptures here. You could get a whole blog of them if I took a notion. Actually you could get a whole blog on various depictions of Andromeda from here. This one is by Clovis Delacour.

You can alway trust John Everett Millais to give you a painting and a half. This is A Dream of the Past: Sir Isumbras at the Ford.

"Tada! Look what I've Done"  Saint George rather pleased with his achievement by Edward Onslow Ford

Fidelity by Briton Riviere

Lord Lever seems to have had a bit of a thing about Napoleon and there is a whole room devoted to artifacts and paintings of him - it's roped of and has to be viewed from behind a barrier. There are several busts of him including this one. 

Not to be unbalanced here's the Iron Duke (made out of bronze)

Castles in the air by William Reynolds-Stephens
Sweet but sometimes the eyes in sculptures make even the sweetest ones just a little scarey

Lord Lever had one of the finest collections of Wedgewood in the World. Including this pot.

All you Wedgewood lovers out there - would you go this far?

Diana the Huntress by William Bayes.
Diana might have been an old Roman Goddess, but she don't half look like a '20s girl here.

This is Shou Lao,  God of Longevity. He's chinese from the Ming dynasty around 1500.

  It's a cat init! From the K'ang Hsi period, 1662 - 1722

The last piece for this visit is the rather jolly figure (also K'ang Hsi) of Ho Shang. As the god of contentment, he could be the only one you ever really need.