Lady Lever Gallery offers female artists exhibition

New exhibition at Lady Lever Art Gallery in Wirral will showcase British landscape art by female artists including paintings entering a public collection for the first time. Tony McDonough reports

Martigny-Bourg, Rhone in Switzerland (1822) by Elizabeth-Campbell will feature in the exhibition


A new exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight in Wirral will present a different perspective on British landscape art, focusing on work by female artists.

Running from Saturday, April 20, to Sunday, August 18, Another View: Landscapes by Women Artists will include around 40 works dating from the early 1800s to the 1980s.

It will also showcase paintings by Elizabeth Campbell (1783-1861) which have recently been acquired by National Museums Liverpool, entering a public collection for the first time.

The Campbells will feature alongside work by artists such as Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Ingrid Pollard (b. 1953) and Dame Ethel Walker (1861-1951).

Another View considers how artists have used their practice to explore the issues of their day, asking questions about class, gender, politics, and more through their depictions of landscape.

Campbell’s paintings recount her travels in Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. An adventurer, she travelled extensively with her daughter Thomasina, sketching the landscapes they saw.

Campbell was one of the first women to cross a difficult glacier path on Mont Blanc. Seven of her watercolours have entered the Walker Art Gallery’s collection, with the exhibition providing a first viewing.

Melissa Gustin, curator of British art at National Museums Liverpool, said: “Far from just painting pretty watercolours, this exhibition shows how women landscape painters used their art to express their individual gazes, representing multiple viewpoints along the way.

“They explored and interrogated the landscape around them, developing important networks and experimenting with new mediums and techniques in the process.

“We’re looking forward to sharing their stories and celebrating their work, which has perhaps been overlooked historically within the narrative of British landscape painting.”

Presented chronologically, the paintings provide an insight into the lives and travels of the artists, many of whom travelled internationally.

They worked outdoors, or “en plein air,” as well as in studios. Their work documents the way they viewed and responded to the natural environment and social world surrounding them.


Another View: Landscapes by Women Artists starts on Saturday, April 20


One painting by Harriet Gouldsmith (1787-1863), hailed as the first professional woman landscape painter, features, as does work by Dame Ethel Walker, who was only the second woman to receive a damehood for her services to the arts.

These artworks show how women began to embrace “messier” oil paints, previously reserved for male landscape painters while women worked with watercolours.

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Another View also considers how landscapes presented opportunities for experimental art making, including etching and printmaking. Etchings by Anna Airy (1882-1964) and Constance Mary Pott (1862-1957) are among those featured.

Many works on show are drawn from Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery collection, accompanied by key loans from galleries including the Atkinson, Southport, the V&A, London, and the Whitworth, Manchester.

Entry to Another View: Landscapes by Women Artists and the Lady Lever Art Gallery is free, with donations welcome. Click here for more information.

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