Gina Criscenzo-Laycock on Egyptian items
Ancient Egypt specialist and curator Gina Criscenzo-Laycock selects objects from the Towneley collection which tell a story and offer insights into a lost way of life. Some of the collection was donated to Towneley by Lady O’Hagan who was the last Towneley to live in the Hall. She was friends with Blackburn born archaeologist John Garstang who sent Egyptian items to show at Towneley in the early 1900s. As well as Burnley, John was responsible for donating collections to Kendal, Blackburn as well as Liverpool.
Eric Knowles on Ceramics
Locally born ceramics expert Eric Knowles selects a variety of pieces from the Towneley collection from locally made to ‘wedding’ and lustre wares. Ceramics were not important in the early days of the museum but the early gift from the makers of Royal Lancastrian pottery was followed by purchases and gifts of collections from local to Chinese pieces. More recent donations include 162 Lancastrian items collected by a local mill owner and the Milner collection of Staffordshire tea wares including Susie Cooper and Shelley.
Phillip Bourne on oil painting
Painting conservator Phillip Bourne selects three oil paintings from the 51 on show in the art gallery. One is relevant to the Towneley family and Hall, one from a charity fund of 1900 and one a narrative painting. The painting of Charles Townley (sic) is the most important oil painting at Towneley. Studied by art historians the world over it is also relevant to the Towneley family history. ‘Destiny’ has been loaned to galleries and museums. Now considered a stunning example of Waterhouse’s work it was not fully appreciated at the time. Narrative paintings tell a story and O’Neill painted many romantic scenes. ‘Last Day of the Sale’ is different.