The Collection: Take a Tour of the Manchester Art Gallery

The Collection from the Manchester Art Gallery

After our Van Gogh Alive in Manchester trip recently, we decided to waltz into Manchester Art Gallery on Mosley Street.

It’s free to enter the city centre museum and it’s just off the legendary Piccadilly Gardens (where many a fisticuffs football riot has gone down over the years).

Whilst in there, we picked up The Collection—the official book for the gallery (and a total steal at only £8). Plus we got a lot of other silly swag you’d expect of us!

Join us, then, for a tour around Manchester’s finest art gallery, a peek into its book, and some other fancy gubbins.

The Collection

If you wander into the gallery’s dedicated shop, you’ll find all manner of fine swag to loot.

This was first published in 2020. There’s a foreword from the gallery’s director, Alistair Hudson, then an introduction from curator Liz Mitchell.

And then?! Pictures! Lots of them! The Collection is a glorious art book, we must say, that’d complement any bookshelf.

Think of the likes of E.H. Gombrich’s The Story of Art (1950) or Bazin’s A Concise History of Art (1958) and you’re along the right lines.

Fancy new image gallery time! Have a gander at some of the stuff on offer. Also… check out Mr. Wapojif’s fingers and thumbs! Neat, eh?

The Collection contains many of these and much more, including from prominent Lancashire artist L. S. Lowry (1887-1976).

If you haven’t seen any of his work before look it up immediately, as the guy was a genius. Basically Lancashire’s version of Vincent van Gogh.

And as for The Collection, it’s a great art book.

Its key strength is in that in captures the essence of a historic city alongside the various works that have helped shape it over the last (almost) 200 years.

Yeah, so if you want to buy The Collection you can do so from Manchester Art Gallery’s site. It’ll help fund this most excellent of endeavours. So… do it. Now!

Manchester Art Gallery was founded in 1823 by the artists and merchants of the day.

The goal was to create the original “useful museum”, an educational institution to promote creativity, imagination, health, and productivity.

All very noble and we feel these pursuits are still in action, as there are no boundaries with this place. It’s free to enter for one and all.

On an overcast day, we took the below picture yesterday (11/02/2022) for posterity!

And don’t be fooled by its exterior. The gallery is actually extensive and has a London type of feel to it. Vast!

We’re not patriotic or nationalistic in any sense but, being from the North West, we’re certainly proud of Manchester’s regeneration over the last 20 years.

And we feel a sense of pride living here, as we do, in the city centre with what the place has become.

An IRA bomb in June 1996 destroyed a chunk of the city centre. That followed several decades of urban decay, extreme poverty, crime, and outright neglect from the Tory government. The city was quite a dismal place to live in the aftermath of the Great Depression of the 1930s and then WWII.

Manchester’s issues with poverty and social decay certainly aren’t gone. The Tory’s catastrophic, deleterious rule over the last 12 years has ensured that. Inequality is rife.

But it’s a booming business hub. And something of a safe haven in a country where the cost of living crisis is becoming almost impossible to deal with.

Many Londoners continue to flee the capital and move to Manchester. Why? Jobs, liveable accommodation, a more relaxed approach to life.

The nationwide housing crisis is at its worst in London.

Since 2010, the Tory party has done sod all to improve the situation. Or the poverty crisis. In fact, the nation is now mired in an energy bill crisis where prices have skyrocketed overnight by 54%.

Amongst this horrible mess, here in Manchester the mayor is Andy Burnham. The left-wing, Labour MP who seems to provide one of the few, last bastion regions of the country with a shred of integrity.

And Manchester Art Gallery, along with wider culture, fits rather neatly into all of this.

A while back we wrote a post about Manchester at night, how the city’s legendary nightlife makes you realise how great the place can be.

In the evening, having a trip around the surprisingly vast collection of the gallery.

And then waltzing off to Piccadilly Gardens (for a fight, naturally), to listen to some buskers, then off to Chinatown to eat in one of the great restaurants. Glorious!

A vibrant and multicultural mix of everything that’s great about humanity. Life-affirming! Culture! Excellence! Food! Drunken football riots!

And we think here of The Stone Roses’ enduring song Waterfall and its chorus, “She’ll carry on through it all. She’s a waterfall.” As this gallery has a timeless quality curator Liz Mitchell highlights in her introduction to The Collection.

“The building that houses Manchester Art Gallery has stood on the corner of Mosley Street and Princess Street for nearly 200 years, while the city has grown and changed around it. Successive generations – the powerful and the ordinary, residents and visitors alike – have walked through its grand porticoed entrance and responded with pleasure or wonder or fury to its contents. In 1849, the great Victorian art critic and social commentator John Rushkin wrote that ‘the greatest glory of a building is not in its stones, nor in its gold. Its glory is in its Age, and in that deep sense of voicefulness …  which we feel in walls that have long been washed by the passing waves of humanity.'”

Whether you want to visit Manchester to drunkenly grab someone by the scruff of the neck and yell, “You startin’, mate?” Or just visit the museum. Either way, you’re most welcome!

Manchester Art Gallery is a surprising beacon of excellence that’s survived two World Wars, the Tory’s relentless regime, and now a pandemic.

It opened its doors once more in 2021 after several lockdowns and we encourage you all to have a gander. There are fantabulous curiosities within.

Dispense with some gibberish!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.