Warrington Museum and Art Gallery

The art gallery and museum in Warrington contains a fair collection of Victorian paintings, as well as much else, and it may be said to be a city museum rather than merely a local one. There were two artists in the area of national importance - confusingly named Wood and Woods. John Warrington Wood was a sculptor, who though born in Warrington in fact lived most of his life in Italy, and Henry Woods, also locally born, became a Royal Academician. Scupture by Wood and some good oil paintings by Woods are in the collection.

The other highlights of the Victorian collection include an important large oil by the Newlyn School artist Walter Langley, Between the Tides (1901), a watercolour The Plain of Thebes by J. F. Lewis, and The Herald by John Gilbert. Other big name pictures are John Sell Cotman's King John and Prince Henry, a watercolour of the Isle of Wight by the prolific book illustrator Miles Birket Foster, Halton Castle by James Smetham, Daughter of the Lagoons -a big oil portrait of an Alma Tadmaesque woman in red - by Luke Fildes, and various pictures by E. F. Brewtnall. S. G. Prout has a remarkable picture of a continental town and many flying birds, there are a series of pastoral impressionistic pictures from the 1900s by James Charles, and there is a well coloured Tunis by Harold Swanwick. Various pictures by George Sheffield are noteworthy, and also interesting are two small watercolours - an illustrated scene by Charles Cattermole, and a bird nest by Mrs W. Jenkins obviously inspired by William Hunt. Of later art, there is a vigorous sketch by Frank Brangwyn for the Winnipeg war memorial.

The sculptures include, as well as the very large St Michael Overcoming Saturn by Warrington Wood, a good Diana by F. Andreini, maquettes for Aurora and Spring by Alfred Drury, and a truly remarkable Guinevere's Redeeming by W. Reynolds-Stephens. This last is a bronze statue with ivory hands and face, very art nouveau, on an ornate base of marble with mother of pearl. Also worth mentioning is a very modern sculpture - a typical small hare by Peter Jones dated 1991.

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Victorian art in Britain

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