Heritage Tours Spring 2015

Art in Manchester
Saturday 21 February
9.00am (c) from Northwich Memorial Hall
Other pick-up points available - details and booking conditions here.
£15.00 - click here to book online.

We spend the day in Manchester exploring 3 galleries.

The Whitworth Art Gallery opens on 14 February following a £15m refurbishment. The gallery has been extended into the park, with new exhibition spaces and greatly enhanced visitor facilities. The extended display areas reach into the landscape, with new and recently acquired sculpture on display in the gallery grounds and in a new art garden and orchard designed by painterly garden designer Sarah Price.

The Whitworth programme will open with a major solo exhibition from one of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, Cornelia Parker whose work invites viewers to witness the transformation of ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary. This extensive presentation will feature a wide range of work made during Parker’s career, including her signature piece Cold Dark Matter; An Exploded View (1991), a garden shed blown up and then displayed around a light bulb.

Also on display will be work by Cai Guo-Qiang, a leading Chinese-born contemporary artist, known for his remarkable projects using gunpowder, including the firework displays for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. His installation Unmanned Nature (2008), a forty-five metre long, four metre high gunpowder drawing, will be the first exhibition in the Whitworth’s new Landscape Gallery.

Celebrating the recent major gift by The Karpidas Foundation of 90 contemporary works of art to the Whitworth, this exhibition features a selection of those works, indicating the artistic vision and breadth of the Foundation. British and North American artists are featured, with many highly regarded names - Laure Prouvost, Dorothy Cross, Nathan Coley, Anna Barriball and Gillian Wearing, as well as Keith Coventry, Gary Hume, Dexter Dalwood and Michael Craig Martin.

At the Manchester Museum Siberia - At the Edge of the World explores the natural history and culture of this immense territory that is one and a half times bigger than Europe. Combining stunning photographic images of its vast landscapes and diverse people with a selection of natural history specimens and cultural objects, the exhibition will examine different aspects of Siberia’s environment and culture, dispelling some of the misconceptions surrounding the land and its people. Items from British and Russian museums will be brought together for the first exhibition of its kind in the UK.

The Manchester City Art Gallery has 3 special exhibitions in addition to the permanent collection.

The Sensory War 1914 - 2014 exhibition marks the Centenary of the First World War and explores how artists have communicated the impact of military conflict on the body, mind, environment and human senses between 1914 and 2014. The show examines how artists from 1914 onwards depicted the devastating impact of new military technologies utilised in a century of conflict beginning with the First World War. It brings together work from a range of leading artists including Henry Lamb, CRW Nevinson, Paul Nash, Otto Dix, Nancy Spero, Richard Mosse, Omer Fast and features works by the hibakusha; survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima which were created in the 1970s and are being shown in the UK for the first time.

Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War is an exhibition of work by acclaimed British painter, Stanley Spencer, on loan from the National Trust's Sandham Memorial Chapel. This exhibition features a series of large-scale arched canvases and side panels detailing scenes of the artist's own wartime experiences. Working as a soldier within a hospital, his recollections focus on the domestic rather than the combative and evoke everyday experience in which he found spiritual resonance and sustenance.

Captured around the world, fashioned in Manchester: internationally renowned and Manchester-based media and textile artist Andrea Zapp reveals her first luxury womenswear collection. Working with scenes and photography from her global travels, Zapp has used urban views, rural panoramas, miniature scenarios and objects of culture and curiosity to create a visual portfolio which forms the essence of each stunning hand-made silk dress.

Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald laid the foundation stone of the Manchester Central Library on 6 May 1930. Four years later the library was officially opened on 17 July 1934 by King George V. The Library reopened in March 2014 following a 4 year, £50m refit. 

Adrian Sumner will be with us to help understand the exhibitions.

Sheffield - City of Steel
Saturday 21 March
8.30am (b) from Northwich Memorial Hall
Other pick-up points available - details and booking conditions here.
£20.00 - click here to book online.

The Millennium Gallery is Sheffield’s premier destination for art, craft and design. Here you can see some of Sheffield’s unique heritage, including the metalwork which made the city world famous, alongside contemporary art and design exhibitions.Current exhibitions include Picturing Sheffield, examining the relationship between views of the city and the people who lived there, as well as highlights from the metalwork collection, the collections of John Ruskin, and The Illustrated Aviary, showing work by John James Audubon, Edward Lear and John Gould.

Adjacent is the impressive multi award-winning Winter Garden, one of the largest temperate glasshouses to be built in the UK during the last hundred years, creating a stunning green world with more than 2,500 plants from around the world.

The Graves Gallery is the home of the City's visual art collection. Famous names on show at the Graves include Burne Jones, Turner and Sisley, while more recent artists include Damien Hirst, Bridget Riley, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Marc Quinn. Local heroes include George Fullard, Derrick Greaves and Stanley Royle. Temporary exhibitions include the work of Edward Bawden, one of Britain's most influential graphic designers of the 20thC.

On the edge of the City is Weston Park Museum, which traces the history of Sheffield from prehistoric to present time. The special exhibition is Traces of Empire: Decoration and Design in Roman Britain.

Other Sheffield attractions include the National Emergency Services Museum, The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul, The Peace Gardens and of course, the world famous Crucible Theatre!

Adrian Sumner will be with us to help understand the exhibitions.

Sheffield City map here.

Lincoln and the Magna Carta
Saturday 11 April
8.00am (a) from Northwich Memorial Hall
Other pick-up points available - details and booking conditions here.
£24.00 - click here to book online.

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta by King John at Runnymede on 15 June 1215. Four original copies of the Magna Carta survive - 2 in the British Library, 1 in Salisbury Cathedral, and 1 in Lincoln Castle. The Lincoln copy has been on tour for the past 2 years, including to the USA, whilst a new £22m visitor centre was prepared in Lincoln Castle. The castle re-opens on 1 April 2015.

As well as the new Magna Carta displays, the Castle Walls and Prison have been extensively refurbished, and a new Heritage Skills Centre opened.

Lincoln Cathedral was for almost 300 years the tallest building in the world. Yet, in spite of its size, it is filled with intricate detail. Funny carvings include not just the Imp, but the cat and mouse and so many other little details that brightened the masons’ days. In Lincoln Cathedral the architects of the gothic style perhaps reached the pinnacle of their art.  Everywhere you look there is the most intricate detail, walls, roofs elaborated by the finest carving.

Standing almost in the shadow of Lincoln cathedral, with sweeping views over the ancient city and the countryside beyond, the medieval bishops’ palace was once among the most important buildings in the country. The administrative centre of the largest diocese in medieval England, stretching from the Humber to the Thames, its architecture reflected enormous power and wealth.

The Museum of Lincolnshire Life’s rich and varied social history collection reflects and celebrates the culture of Lincolnshire and its people from 1750 to the present day. Exhibits illustrate commercial, domestic, agricultural, industrial and community life.

As the home to an authentic World War One tank named “Flirt”, the museum also houses interactive galleries of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, which have won prestigious national awards.

The Collection is an award winning archaeology museum with displays covering the stone, bronze and iron ages, romans, anglo-saxons, vikings and the civil war. Adjacent is the Usher Gallery, region's premier art gallery. The Usher Gallery combines displays from its permanent collections of fine arts, decorative arts and horology, enhanced by loans of acclaimed works from national collections, with a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions. Includes local scenes by L.S. Lowry, Peter DeWint, J.M.W. Turner and John Carmichael, works by turn of the 20th Century artists such as Jacob Epstein and Ella Curtois and vases by Grayson Perry.

The temporary exhibition is (detail) which features the work of 118 international artists, including David Reed, Fiona Rae, Daniel Sturgis, Neal Rock, Pavel B├╝chler, Shirley Kaneda and Julie Heffernan, who have each selected a close-up from one of their paintings. These details are printed and displayed together to give both a tantalising glimpse into each artwork, and create a huge collage of images.

Lincoln City map here.

Caernarfon and Llanberis Railway
Sunday 10 May
8.30am (b) from Northwich Memorial Hall
Other pick-up points available - details and booking conditions here.
£22.00 - click here to book online.

A brute of a fortress. Caernarfon Castle’s pumped-up appearance is unashamedly muscle-bound and intimidating. Picking a fight with this massive structure would have been a daunting prospect. By throwing his weight around in stone, King Edward I created what is surely one of the most impressive of Wales’s castles. Worthy of World Heritage status no less!

The site of this great castle wasn’t chosen by accident. It had previously been the location of a Norman motte and bailey castle and before that a Roman fort stood nearby. The lure of water and easy access to the sea made the banks of the River Seiont an ideal spot for Edward’s monster in masonry. Edward wasn’t one to miss on an opportunity to tighten his grip even further on the native population. The birth of his son, the first English Prince of Wales, in the castle in 1284, was a perfect device to stamp his supremacy. In 1969 the current Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Charles’s investiture took place here.

On the outskirts of the town is Segontium, the remains of the Roman fort that was built to defend the Roman Empire against rebellious tribes. Segontium was later plundered to provide stone for Edward I's castle at Caernarfon.

We then take a trip on the Llanberis Lake Railway, a 1 ft 11 ¹⁄₂ in narrow gauge heritage railway. The little steam engines take us on a five-mile return journey alongside Lake Padarn, right in the heart of Snowdonia. The journey takes us past the 13th century Dolbadarn Castle, across possibly Britain's shortest river and past Llanberis' twin lakes. From Llanberis the train runs non-stop through the Padarn Country Park, joining the 1845 slate railway route to run along the shores of Lake Padarn to Penllyn, and giving stunning views of Snowdon, the highest peak Wales.

Caernafon Town Walk here. Llanberis Lake Railway Booklet here.

Click to add to your

Click here to download pdf of the Spring Tours Flyer.

Art History Lectures - Spring 2015


Art Lectures with art historian Adrian Sumner
Hartford Methodist Church Hall
Beach Road, Hartford, Northwich CW8 3AD

2.00pm - £5.00 including refreshments
Plenty of free car parking
Click here for a map to the venue

Big is Beautiful
A lecture looking at the exceptional life's work of Peter Paul Rubens  
Tuesday 10 February

A little unfashionable in the present day, the Art of Rubens is one of the great joys of the Visual World, and includes masterpieces in virtually all genres of painting, drawing and printmaking.

 Not just one of the most prolific of all artists, but a Master of Colour, Line, Mood and Drama, but also of SCALE. No work or idea was on too grand a scale for Rubens, who was able to produce colossal Mural and Ceiling decorations as easily as he produced touching, intimate studies of family life, and, especially, of his children.

Truly a Painter full of surprises, and, arguably, the Greatest Baroque Artist of them all.

There is a major exhibition - Rubens and his Legacy - at the Royal Academy until 10 April.

Click here to book tickets online or phone 01606 41597.

Barbara Hepworth vs Henry Moore
A History of 20th Century British Sculpture  
Tuesday 10 March

And yes, the debate continues to rage - who influenced who, and who, ultimately, will time prove to be the greater artist. Particularly in the light of the opening of Hepworth Wakefield, surely one of Britain's best Museums, and its proximity to Henry Moore's extensive displays of work at the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

This lecture looks at both sculptors in the context of dubious British Modernism, and examines their greater or lesser contemporaries on the world stage.

And, of course, we look at how its all turned out, what with the mushrooming popularity of Anthony Caro, Antony Gormley, YBAs and all.

Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park 

Click here to book tickets online or phone 01606 41597. 

The Golden Master of Delft  
Tuesday 7 April

There was a time when Rembrandt was untouchable as the greatest of the Dutch Golden Age artists, though Frans Hals, Miendart Hobbema, and even Jan Steen would have put up a stiff fight for the crown.

Now, however, its a very different story - Jan Vermeer has eclipsed them all; a rise which seems limitless and unstoppable.

Looking at the surprisingly few paintings which make up the artist's oeuvre, we will reveal the astonishing effects of light he was able to achieve - unique works made using the same raw materials as all the others, but transformed by an exceptional genius of seeing into something magical (and probably unrepeatable, if all the stumbling imitations and fakes are any indication).

The complete Vermeer catalogue.

Click here to book tickets online or phone 01606 41597. 

The Glasgow Boys
and the rise of Scottish Painting  
Tuesday 12 May

A chief focus of any visit to Glasgow's, and Scotland's, museums and galleries, the Glasgow Boys brought not just a new spirit to Scottish Painting, but a new focus on what was possible for Modern Scottish artists within that ancient and most traditional artform.

Looking at the original group, the Scottish Colourists, the Celtic Revival artists and Romantic Nationalists, and, of course, the New Glasgow Boys and New Scottish Painting of the 1970s and '80s, the Hibernian Spirit, it seems, has never burnt so bright in art as in the 20th Century, and has left a startling and wonderful legacy for the 21st.

Lavery and The Glasgow Boys book.

Click here to book tickets online or phone 01606 41597.

Click to add event to your Google Calendar:

Click here to download this poster or the flyer here.

Select and Seeing Caravaggio

Northwich Library - Free - Normal Library opening hours
Until  Friday 6 February

Select by Beth Barlow and Simon Kennedy

Click here to find out more about Liquid Artists Collaboration

Seeing Caravaggio by Michael Troy

When first “seeing” great art it was Caravaggio who had the most profound effect on me. His work is Dramatic!

I now know that the technique he used is called “chiaroscuro” and the realistic single source of strong light with slight reflection made a huge impact on my emerging style. I have had the privilege of travelling around Europe and seeing most of his works in the flesh!

As a form of discipline and focus I took stretch pads of Bristol Board, pencils and a clear mind and drew the original in black and white.

Each drawing took many hours and several visits to the museum concerned. Not only did it require me to ignore passers-by, but it required me to learn just what a remarkable artist he was!!

In the stark contrast of pencil work I grew to appreciate the marvellous composition of each piece.

1. The Boy Bitten by a Lizard - Florence
2. The Inspiration of St. Matthew - Rome
3. The Supper at Emmaus - London
4. The Incredulity of Thomas - Potsdam
5. The Taking of Christ - Dublin
6. The Crowning with Thorns - Vienna
Click on the city to find out about the original painting.

If I try to explain what I mean by compositor let me encourage you to look at The Crowning with Thorns more closely. Look for triangles of light.

From Christ’s shoulder a line extends to the fore ground tormentor’s arm which leads up to the rod he is using. The naked torso of this figure creates another triangle in itself and is in contrast to the chest of Christ. A further triangle is made by the second tormentor and this also leads Christ’s head.

There is a subdued triangle in the reflected light of the armour of the passive official in the fore ground to the left.

There is also a form of triangle in the rods since Christ is holding one in the opposite direction of the other more powerful two.

Click here to learn more about Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)

Articles in pdf form on Caravaggio here and here.

Images of Northwich and Surrounds

Organised by VAC

Weaver Hall Museum
London Road, Northwich CW9 8AB

Saturday 17 January - Sunday 19 April

Closed Monday (except Bank Holidays & School Holidays 10am - 5pm)
Tuesday to Friday - 10am - 5pm
Saturday and Sunday - 2pm - 5pm

Free Entry to Gallery, Cafe and Shop
Small charge for other displays

Northwich Guardian article here.

Click here to download the Exhibition Catalogue

Prometheus Unbound
The Art of Industry

Thursday 19th February
2.00pm - Tickets £5
Methodist Church Hall, Beach Road, Hartford, Northwich CW8 4BB
(Ample free parking)
Phone 01606 782516 to book, or pay at the door
or book Online Here
All proceeds to go to Riding for the Disabled

A wildly-illustrated lecture by Adrian Sumner exploring how Art was transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Images of Industry, good and bad, selected from 2000 years of history, but looking closely at the new forms generated by the Industrial Revolution, and the wealth of poetry and symbolism it unleashed. Features William Blake and John Martin, Wright of Derby and JMW Turner, Romantics, Pre Raphaelites, Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Vorticists and Futurists, Dadas, Surrealists, Precisionists and YBAs (not forgetting Arts and Crafts, Bauhaus, Ruralists etc..).

Book online here.