Walker Art Gallery acquires important watercolour

  • 22 February 2011

A striking watercolour depicting 19th century emigration has been bought by the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool with our support. Painted by French artist James Tissot, the historic work is entitled 'Goodbye on the Mersey'.

Goodbye on the Mersey depicts a middle class family saying goodbye to relatives bound for America on a transatlantic liner.

The vantage point is the deck of a tender or ferry. In the foreground two women point out their relatives on a distant liner to an elderly lady. On the right an older gentleman and little girl wave at the ship. Beyond the main action and the imposing liner, the 1880 Liverpool skyline is captured.

Dr Laura MacCulloch, Curator of British art at the Walker, said: “An important artist from the Victorian period, Tissot specialised in scenes of high society and modern life. His work reveals not only the social habits of the Victorian upper and middle classes but also underlying themes of romance and morals. We hope this work will be popular with our local audience who will appreciate this snapshot of Liverpool’s history.”

Goodbye on the Mersey will complement another work by the artist already a firm favourite at the Walker. Portrait of Mrs Catherine Smith Gill and two of her children was purchased with our help in 1979 and can be viewed on the Walker’s interactive virtual gallery.

Goodbye on the Mersey will go on show later this year.