ONE of the largest art exhibitions ever seen in St Helens has opened at The World of Glass.
And this is big art in every sense of the word. On display will be a total of 111 paintings, including a massive 12-foot-high portrait never before seen in public.
“The exhibition is free and offers a once in a lifetime chance to see a great collection,” says Hannah Longworth, Curator of The World of Glass.
“It is the first time ever we have put on display the entire collection of oils and watercolours from the St Helens Heritage Collection.
“Perhaps the most striking exhibit is the huge portrait of Sir David Gamble, the first Mayor of St Helens, painted in 1899 and kept inside the council chamber for over 100 years.
“It took four of our staff to move it and when we brought it out of our storeroom and we were all mesmerised by it.”
The painting cost 900 guineas and was paid for by the people of St Helens as a tribute to Sir David, who was Mayor four times in all and described by the Liverpool Mercury at the time as “an ideal citizen with a single eye to the common good”.
Other paintings include such popular favourites from the collection as The Snowball: Guilty or Not Guilty and The Heir Cast Out of The Vineyard.
The 83 watercolours include a group of 31 pieces donated by Godfrey Pilkington in memory of his mother and father, Colonel Guy and Margery Pilkington, and known as the Pilkington Watercolours. Sculptures featured in the exhibition include Faust et Marguerite and the Egg Dancer, both of which originally adorned the Beecham’s Pills factory in Westfield Street.
Called simply ART, the exhibition will run at The World of Glass until June 3.