Our popular Gallery talks moved online during lockdown.

Photo credits: York Museums Trust

Portrait of Henry Baines, Botanist of York

The portrait of Henry Baines, the botanist and creator of York’s Museum Gardens, was painted in 1874 by the Yorkshire artist Thomas Banks (1828-1896). Its recent conservation has been fully funded by the Friends of York Art Gallery.

Peter Hogarth, a member of the Friends, and co-author of The most fortunate situation: The Story of York’s Museum Gardens, writes about the portrait in the context of Baines’s life, career and family connections.


Thomas Banks (1828 – 1896), Henry Baines (1793 – 1878) Botanist of York, 1874, oil on canvas. © York Museums Trust

Alfred Wolmark by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska

The bust of Alfred Wolmark by Henri Gaudier-Brzeskaby attracts the attention of visitors to the Burton Gallery at York Art Gallery, but who was he, and why was he sculpted by Gaudier-Brzeskaby?

Dorothy Nott investigates the background to this exceptionally striking work, exploring the life of both the sculptor and his subject. 


Henri Gautier Brzeska, Bust of Alfred Wolmark ©York Museums Trust

Artwork of the Month – August 2020

Liverpool Docks at Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893).

Charles Martindale discusses this important new acquisition by the Gallery.

Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893), Liverpool Docks at Night, 1870s, oil on canvas. York Museums Trust

Artwork of the Month – July 2020

Egyptian Head Disappearing into Descending Clouds (1961) by David Hockney

Peter Miller, President of the Friends, writes about this preparatory oil sketch by David Hockney, which was acquired by the Gallery in 1999, with financial support from the Friends.

Artwork of the Month – June 2020

The John Cheere Busts in York Art Gallery (mid 18th century).  

Above the stairs in York Art Gallery, on the left as you go up, there are a number of 18th-century portrait busts. Moira Fulton here explains what these are, and how they come to be in the Gallery.

Artwork of the Month – May 2020

Preparing for a Fancy Dress Ball, William Etty (1787 -1849).

The painter most closely associated with the City of York is William Etty, whose statue stands outside the Art Gallery, and who is buried in St Olave’s Churchyard. Margaret May, a member of the Friends’ committee, discusses one of his finest and most popular paintings. 

William Etty (1787-1849), Preparing for a Fancy Dress Ball, 1833, oil on canvas. Photo credit: York Museums Trust

Artwork of the Month – April 2020

Study for ‘Nameless and Friendless’ by Emily Mary Osborn (1828-1925).

Dorothy Nott, a former Chair of the Friends,  writes about a remarkable small painting in the Gallery’s collection. ‘Nameless and Friendless’ was painted as a study for a larger work, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1858 and is now in Tate Britain.

Emily Mary Osborn (1828-1925), ‘Study for Nameless and Friendless’, 1857, oil on wood © York Museums Trust

Artwork of the Month: September

This month’s artwork is Albert Moore’s A Venus (1869).

Marte Stinis, a PhD student at the University of York supervised by Professor Elizabeth Prettejohn, writes about one of the most important paintings in York Art Gallery, by the York-born Victorian artist Albert Moore, a pioneering figure in what is often called ‘the aesthetic movement’ and a precursor of modernist formalism and abstraction.