Exhibiton of work by 19th century Wirral artist to open at Walker in Liverpool

Wirral Globe: James Hamilton Hay's study of Parkgate features in the exhibition James Hamilton Hay's study of Parkgate features in the exhibition

WORK by Wirral-born artist James Hamilton Hay feature in a new exhibition opening at the Walker Art Gallery later this month.

James Hamilton Hay: Portrait of the engraver opens at the Liverpool city centre venue on Friday, December 13.

The display - featuring more than 25 etchings, including scenes of Lime Street Station, St George's Hall and Runcorn Bridge - is from National Museums Liverpool's collection.

Born in 1874, in Birkenhead, Hay was one of the most talented artists to emerge from Liverpool in the early 20th century.

After finding his training at Liverpool School of Art ‘very unsatisfactory’, Hay moved to Cornwall where he flourished under British Impressionist Julius Olsson.

He later returned to Liverpool and became an energetic advocate for contemporary art in the city; he was responsible for organising exhibitions of work by significant international artists including the French Impressionist, Édouard Manet in 1904.

Following the death of his wife in 1911, Hay moved to London for a fresh start.

During this time, he developed a more graphic style noticeable in the bold lines he uses in his later work compared to the more fluid Impressionist lines used in his earlier work.

Hay’s death from lung cancer in 1916, aged 42, prematurely ended his career, preventing him from being as well known as he might have been.

Charlotte Keenan, Tomlinson Curator of Works on Paper said: “We’re really pleased to be displaying these beautiful etchings and the local connection with both Hay and the subject of some of his etchings makes the exhibition even more special.

“Hay believed in working directly from nature which gives his etchings a stunning snap-shot quality.”

Included in the exhibition are a number of etchings made in the North West, which reveal the former landscapes of the region.

The exhibition features a watercolour of St George’s Plateau with the Walker Art Gallery visible in the background, and a print of Lime St Station, complete with bustling city figures.

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