Louise Rayner Victorian Watercolours
24 January 2017An exhibition celebrating the work of Chester’s favourite artist has opened at the city’s Grosvenor Museum. ‘Louise Rayner: Victorian Watercolours’ displays the largest public collection of her work and runs until 17 April.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said: “The much-loved watercolours of Louise Rayner (1832-1924) present a uniquely charming vision of Victorian Chester. She delighted in the textures of crumbling plaster, weather-beaten timber, peeling posters and rough cobbles. Her views of Chester’s picturesque streets are brought vividly to life with ordinary people going about their everyday lives in the sunlit city.
“Louise Rayner painted major public buildings such as the Castle and the Town Hall, famous half-timbered houses such as Bishop Lloyd’s Palace and the Bear and Billet, and long-vanished corners of the historic city such as St Werburgh’s Mount and Harvie’s Almshouses. Louise Rayner has become Chester’s favourite artists, and is admired as much today as in her lifetime.”
Louise Rayner is first recorded at Chester in 1869. She lived at 2 Ash Grove off the Wrexham Road, boarding with Robert Shearing (who owned a chemist’s shop in Watergate Street) and his wife Mary Anne. From Chester she sent work to exhibitions in London and elsewhere, and in the 1870s and ’80s spent a couple of months each summer in different British towns and cities. In the 1890s her sister Margaret (1837-1920) came to lodge with her at Chester, where they taught watercolour drawing. They left Chester around 1910, and Louise died at St Leonards-on-Sea in 1924.
The exhibition includes four watercolours by Louise Rayner’s father Samuel and sister Margaret. They are very accomplished works and provide a fascinating context for Louise Rayner’s better-known pictures. The conservation of these pictures was generously funded by the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust.
Events for adults: