A History of the Walker Art Gallery


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Edward Morris and Timothy Stevens

The Walker Art Gallery was built between 1873 and 1877 by Andrew Barclay Walker, a brewer, for the annual Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions. The success of these exhibitions enabled the Walker to build up a remarkable collection of contemporary British art. In 1933 a new extension made it by far the largest of the English regional art galleries, and it began to collect first historic British art and later European art on a considerable scale. In 1948 it received the famous collection of early Netherlandish and Italian paintings formed by William Roscoe early in the nineteenth century.

The John Moores exhibitions, beginning in 1957, enabled the Gallery to acquire many important modern British paintings. In 1978 it took over the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, immensely rich in British paintings, sculpture and furniture, and in both English and Chinese ceramics. Reflecting its pre-eminence among British provincial galleries, the Walker Art Gallery became in 1986 a national gallery, funded by central government.

This is the first detailed book on any of the great British regional galleries and it analyses in depth the problems and personalities involved in the Gallery’s rise to fame. It is written by two of its leading directors and curators of the last 50 years.

Edward Morris studied history at Cambridge University and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He joined the curatorial staff of the Walker Art Gallery in 1966 and remained there for his entire working life, retiring as Curator of Fine Art. He has published numerous detailed catalogues of its collections, as well as many scholarly exhibition catalogues, books and articles.

Timothy Stevens studied at Oxford University and at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He became a curator at the Walker Art Gallery in 1964 and Director in 1971. He left the Gallery in 1987 becoming Keeper of Art at the National Museum of Wales and then Assistant Director at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

ISBN: 978-1-906593-71-1
210 x 150mm
304 pages