Yesterday I popped into the Walker Art Gallery on a whim. I hadn’t researched their collection, I just thought it might be a nice place for a cool wander after the heat of the day, and I wanted to see the famous Henry VIII painting.
The detail is really quite extraordinary, especially on the curtains – the texture of the fabric feels like a trick being played upon your eye.
Because I hadn’t done my research, I had no idea that two of my favourite paintings, one of which I’ve never seen before, were on display!
Echo and Narcissus is one of those wonderful paintings that embodies a classical story, and all the cultural reference points that came from it.
The Walker also had an impressive Pre-Raphaelite collection which I spent quite a lot of time marveling at. I can’t wait for the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition over at the Lady Lever Gallery after getting a taster.
My favourite piece, though, was completely unexpected. Rounding a corner into one of the contemporary galleries, I spotted The Exiled Forever Coming Into Land, a Ged Quinn painting, and one I have long lusted after. I had no idea it was housed at the Walker and it was definitely the highlight of my day!
It’s a piece that forces you to move away, look up close, and move away again, to take in the big picture alongside its stunning detail. The texture in the sky is incredible, and the sunset behind the hills is quite frankly swoon-worthy. I’ve always loved fantasy posters and I love how Quinn brings this into his work. I’d really recommend going to take a look at this if you’re in Liverpool as the depth of the sky and the tiny details in the trees really can’t be captured on a screen.
I also enjoyed seeing a Hockney painting that I wasn’t aware of (Peter getting out of Nick’s pool), which was so indicative of the time, and of course Peter Davies’ iconic Super Star Fucker Andy Warhol Text Painting. As a much-reproduced image it was great to get up close and see the clean lines of paint against canvas. There was also a cheeky Banksy amongst the 17th-century works!
My only criticism of the gallery would be that the way some of paintings are displayed above each other makes the light bounce of them so you can’t get a close look, but this was mostly in the Victorian portraits which aren’t my cup of tea anyway. I loved how the rooms had been decorated, with white minimalist spaces for contemporary works next to opulent wallpaper for Rennaissance pieces.
All in all, I had a super little wander at the Walker. I didn’t go in all the rooms so I’m excited to visit again this summer, especially with a Rankin exhibition on the way!