In conversation with Keeper of Art, Lizzie Jacklin

Challenging Convention focuses on the work of four British female artists — Laura Knight Dod Procter, Vanessa Bell and Gwen John — who were all born in the late nineteenth century but worked in the early decades of the twentieth century. What sort of issues did these women face in order to have their work showcased in galleries?

By the time Gwen John entered the progressive Slade School of Art in 1895, more female students than male ones were enrolled there. But women didn’t always receive an equal education in UK art…


By Ella Nixon, PhD student at Northumbria University in collaboration with the Laing Art Gallery. Her thesis explores the representation of female artists within regional art galleries.

Throughout history, figurative images — meaning those that depict real life through realistic forms — have been used to convey spiritual messages to the viewer. The Madonna of the Magnificat [Fig. 1], created by a follower of Sandro Botticelli in the nineteenth century, is a lesser-known example of this within the Laing’s collection. The small tondo, a term used to denote a circular artwork, measures 111.8 x 111.8 cm. It represents a beautiful…


By Dan Gordon, Keeper of Biology, Great North Museum: Hancock

In the museum’s basement is a room filled with heads. Row after row of them stare out from metal racks, glassy eyed and bristling with every kind of horn and antler. Visitors to this room are sometimes awestruck at the breadth of species on display. The Kudu, its head crowned by spiralling horns like giant corkscrews. A tiny Klipspringer with horns like shiny black thorns. The huge Eland, its vast head armed with massive horns like tank shells. A parliament of Africa’s fantastic beasts, all in this small storeroom. These…


By Andy Cole

Andy is a Customer Services Assistant at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), based at Discovery Museum. He welcomes visitors and prepares them for their visit, engages people with our local history and helps care for the objects, items and exhibits within the museum. Andy has worked at TWAM for 18 years.

“All toys are gender neutral, what is not neutral is the way toys are marketed.” — (Christia Spears Brown, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky)

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) holds almost 1000 items categorised as toys within their collections.

Boys just gravitate…


By Jo Anderson, Assistant Keeper of Archaeology, Great North Museum: Hancock.

Irtyru — the mummified woman displayed in the Great North Museum: Hancock — is well known to generations of adults and children from Newcastle upon Tyne and beyond. Irtyru has been in the museum now for a very long time. Over that period, there have been many changes in how society views the display of human remains. Our historical relationship with her could be viewed as problematic, and our current relationship is proving to be just as tricky.

The morals and ethics of museums displaying human remains have changed…


This month, the Shipley Art Gallery interviewed Mella Shaw — ceramicist, guest lecturer, writer, freelance curator and winner of the 2020 Henry Rothschild Bursary. In our conversation, Mella reflects on her career, inspirations and progress with her latest project, Rare Earth.


By Gemma Ashby, Assistant Keeper of History, Discovery Museum

Free a Man for the Fleet

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) is about to commence on a partnership project with the Imperial War Museums (IWM) examining stories of the Second World War and exploring its diverse history on Tyneside. Find out more about the project here.

One of our main focuses for this project will be to consider the experiences of women on Tyneside during that time: the women who stepped in to new roles, the women who had increasing caring responsibilities at home and the anxiety they must…


By Jane Saul, Postgraduate student, MA by Research, University of Exeter, working on poor relief in Eighteenth Century Battersea

‘Church and House in Landscape’, late eighteenth century drawing, pencil and watercolour on paper by artist William Beilby (1740–1819), courtesy Laing Art Gallery

Amongst the holdings of the Laing Art Gallery is a watercolour simply entitled Church and House in Landscape by William Beilby. To connoisseurs of eighteenth century art William Beilby’s name is associated primarily with the fine, enamelled glass for which the Beilby family was renowned. Born in Durham in 1740, the son of a silversmith, William Beilby served an apprenticeship to an enameller in Birmingham, before joining his brother Ralph in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1760, where together with their sister…


By Helen Vasey, Assistant Keeper of History, Discovery Museum

In our Google Arts & Culture exhibition ‘The Female Form Through Time’ we look at how women’s silhouettes have changed from the Victorian period to the end of the 20th century.

Here we will take a closer look at the variety and choice of styles that emerged in the 1970s, and in particular the length of women’s skirts.

The mini-skirt continued to be popular into the 1970s. Mini-dresses were often shift dresses and not very fitted, to give a youthful figure.


By Jean Scott, Chairman and Co-ordinator for Volunteer Guides, Friends of the Laing Art Gallery

The Friends of the Laing provide invaluable support to the Gallery by raising money and awareness of its exhibitions, collections and events, and help to acquire new works/conservation. This article presents a virtual insight into the Henry Hetherington Emmerson painting A Foreign Invasion, which is part of the Laing’s collection.

‘A Foreign Invasion’ c.1871 by Henry Hetherington Emmerson (1831–95), Laing Art Gallery, TWCMS : G3888

To help with the monotony of lockdown I have walked almost daily in my local cemetery passing by the grave of Henry Hetherington Emmerson (1831–95) who painted this picture. It shows entertainers performing in Cullercoats…

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Major regional museum, art gallery and archives service. We manage a collection of nine venues across Tyneside and the Archives for Tyne and Wear.

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