Jill and I went to the Whitworth in Manchester this week – they have had two building extensions since I was last there and it is a real winner! It probably helps that it is free to enter but on leaving one cannot help but feel inclined to make a donation.
The gallery is on two main levels and there are some small floor level changes dealt with by a couple of steps [and ramps for buggies/wheelchairs etc]. It was strange to notice the outside when in the gallery; usually such places are made without windows letting light anywhere near the exhibits but you could still see daylight at the margins. For some unknown reason that made me feel more comfortable.
Cafe was a delight and good value for money. Its on the first floor, long, curtained in glass from floor to ceiling, and has large mature trees surrounding it.
The grounds to the rear of the gallery [where there is a new ground level entrance] are well laid out and have elements of prairie planting mixed with low box trees. – plenty of ideas to transfer to the end of our garden.
The Whitworth may be outside the capital but it cannot be called a “provincial” gallery as the range and quality of pieces on display are too good. Although an exhibition of a textile designer had been taken down the day before we arrived there were exhibitions on fabrics from the first couple of decades of the 1900s, paintings and drawings themed on the battle front of the First World War, wallpapers from the middle of the 1900s, an eclectic hanging of portraits, an installation by Nico Vascellari of glass and changing light sources, and a large exhibition curated by the artist Elizabeth Price [Turner Prize winner]. Oh and there was a small exhibition about gardens. More than enough for a day out.
I think that we will be back fairly soon but with so much in one visit, how will we get time to visit Manchester Art Gallery in the same trip?