Lady Lever Art Gallery
The Lady Lever Art Gallery is part of National Museums Liverpool and contains the best of William Hesketh Lever’s personal art collection. Lever started collecting art to promote Sunlight Soap. The Gallery is famous for its Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Millais, Rossetti and Burne-Jones and holds works by Leighton, Turner, Constable, Gainsborough and Reynolds.
Lever began collecting art in the late 19th century, largely to use in advertising for the popular Sunlight Soap brand that helped to create his fortune. As he grew richer his collections began to expand, his confidence grew as well and he developed a taste for collecting. He mostly collected British art, but he was also fascinated by Chinese art, Roman sculpture and Greek vases, which he had chosen to collect to show styles that had influenced British artists in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.
In 2015 part of the museum was closed for building works, with little of the ceramics collections on display, but most of the other collections. A touring exhibition visited museums in Japan and elsewhere. The redeveloped South End galleries were restored to their original architecture style as part of a £2.8 million restoration project in 2016. The work included opening up original doorways to increase the circulation of visitors, improving the lighting and restoring some of the original vaulted ceilings
Lever bought pictures which would appeal to the housewives who were his customers. At first he collected art for business but as he grew richer and more confident he developed a taste for collecting. He mostly collected British art but he was also fascinated by Chinese porcelain, Roman sculpture and Greek vases which he collected to show the styles that had influenced British artists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
In his lifetime Lever collected over 20,000 works of art. Many of these are on display in the gallery today. This massive and diverse collection includes paintings, sculpture, furniture, ceramics, textiles and ethnographic objects.
Port Sunlight Village, Wirral, Merseyside CH62 5EQ England
open 10am-5pm every day
Lady Lever Art Gallery Port Sunlight | paintings in chronological order
1876 – 1900