"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on September 1, 2018 by Sioux under General
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Up early to make the most of the long days, I took Paul to Port Sunlight, the home of ‘Sunlight soap’. We went into the Lady Lever Art Gallery & Museum, which I hadn’t done before, and was very glad of doing it this time round!

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A fascinating place as well as being a beautiful building housing one of the UK’s finest collections of fine and decorative art; as well as the best collection of Wedgwood jasperware anywhere in the world! Lord Lever started collecting Wedgewood in 1905 as he believed it represented the very best in English pottery. By the time he stopped collecting in 1919, he had amassed over 3,000 pieces.

 

It was opened in 1922 by Lord Lever to enrich the cultural and educational lives of his workforce, and dedicated to the memory of his wife Lady Elizabeth. The museum contains the best of his personal art collection, which he started collecting in the late 19th century, mainly to use in advertising for the popular Sunlight Soap brand.

This black jasper vase dates back to 1796.

This decorative chimney board and mantelpiece are made from marble and green jasper and date back to 1787.

 

There are only five 18th century Wedgwood fireplaces still known to exist. Three of these are in the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

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Lever’s interest in Masonic items began when he was initiated as the first member of the new Lever Lodge in 1902, founded by his workers. He saw Freemasonry as a way of improving social and personal conduct among his male workforce. He bought his Masonic collection in the 1920’s from a convicted fraudster. Although he was aware of the sellers’ criminal history, he did not doubt the authenticity of the items; and his instincts proved correct as the collection was to become one of the largest and most important of its kind in Britain. The collection contains approximately 640 items many from the 18th century, including jewels, aprons, collars, cuffs, sashes, ceramics, glass items and certificates. 

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Most of the tapestries held in the Lady Lever Art Gallery were acquired between 1915 and 1920. 

 

The collection includes a number of important works dating back to the 1700’s.

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There is an entire section of the

museum dedicated to Chinese art pieces, including this figure of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy,stood in a now unknown temple in northern China. Made from stoneware and coloured glazes, it dates back as far as 1484. 

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The pine writing cabinet was made in England around 1680, the Chinese-look finish achieved by using red and gold lacquer coating and brass mounts. The pair of Chinese cabinets are part of a suite of furniture, made in 1752 using Japanned pine and mahogany, for the Chinese State bedroom at Badminton House in Gloucestershire.

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The “William & Mary Room” is one of 5 ‘period’ rooms in

the Gallery and reflects the wealth and flamboyance of the powerful

families that lived in England’s ‘Great Houses’ in the 17th & 18th centuries.  

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The Lever collection includes not only items of interest, but also the macabre, like these two Napoleon death masks, made in 1821, just one day after his death. 

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Paul was fascinated with the Analemmatic sundial. If you stand on the month stone, the time will be where your shadow is cast over the hour stone.

 

The inner circle is for British summer months and the outer for the winter months. It has proven quite accurate both times I have stood there!

Once he had seen what there was to see in Port Sunlight, we headed back to the station, and went on to Chester. 

 

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One response to “Seeing the City of Culture with new eyes #2 – day tripping #1 – Port Sunlight.”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Very interesting! Tx for sharing take care S x x

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