• Welcome to Admire / Desire

    Come and visit us regularly as we expand upon the themes of this exhibition:

    Victorian Watercolours

    Art collectors

    Private art collections

    Museums collections

    How (and why) museums collect

    Bequests and donations

    and more...

    We hope that you will add your ideas and thoughts to the blog as it goes along, and do complete our short online survey by clicking here.

    Thanks, and welcome!

Results of Admire/Desire Survey

Admire/Desire has now been deinstalled to make way for the next show, so now is a good time to sum up the results of the survey which was undertaken by near 50 visitors to the exhibition aged between 14 and 77. Firstly I can reveal that there was no one overall favourite picture, though Charles … Continue reading

Private Art Collection on display

And a different Private to Public

I recently spent a week in a beautiful, family run hotel with a wonderful history and a remarkable art collection on the coast in Catalonia. Spending time there really brought to life for me the extraordinary pleasure of living (albeit temporarily) with art. I was also intrigued by the collection as a whole. Personality and … Continue reading

One month left to see Admire/Desire

It is frightening how quickly time passes and, as soon as one show is installed, it’s time to think about the next one. ‘Unstable States: The Visual Representation of Water’ will be the next display in the Pilkington Gallery at the Whitworth. This display will investigate Ruskin and his guide to landscape painting, Modern Painters.

From Private to Public

With Saatchi bequesting his collection and gallery to the nation, what had been a privately-owned kind-of-public space is now a public-owned public-space. And yet how different will it feel once ownership has changed? Is it a public museum of art or a museum of Saatchi? Of course many public museums begin in much the same … Continue reading

Pinwell: My Son's Wife, Eliza

Stories for society

The works in Admire/Desire and all those in the Whitworth’s collection (just as for any museum) tell us multiple stories: personal, public, shared and private; looking back and looking forward. Nina Simon, interviewed by the Smithsonian, says something so simple about the wider value of collections it seems worth repeating here: “What will a successful … Continue reading

John William Waterhouse: Study

Walter Benjamin on book collecting

One of the key inspirations for us, when thinking about what it means to collect works of art, was this excerpt from Walter Benjamin’s Unpacking my Library. Yes, his subject is ostensibly books, but his point relates to the nature of collecting itself. Human nature, memory and remembrance, responsibility, obsession and engagement. Our focus is … Continue reading

Myles Birket Foster: Barge on the Thames

Collectors and oral histories

In 2007, the Center for the History of Collecting in America was established at the Frick Art Reference Library. The purpose and range of activities are all detailed here, but what struck me as particularly interesting was their Oral and Visual Histories project. Similarly, the MOMA New York have an interview with David Rockefeller on … Continue reading

William Frederick Yeames: On the Boulevards, Dinan

Do you desire?

A thought about William Frederick Yeames: On the Boulevards, Dinan…. Is there a picture that you love to visit so much, that you sometimes wish you could take it home and look at it every morning over breakfast, or every time you walk into your bedroom? Do you ever get an urge, as you wander … Continue reading

The Art Fund

You may have noticed the Art Fund logo popping up here and there in Museums and Art Galleries and never thought much about who they are, beyond that logo. I think it’s a fascinating charity, definitely worthy of a few words here. Originally called the National Art Collection, it was responsible for the purchase of … Continue reading

Installation shot - Admire/Desire


It’s installation day!

Deep-Rooted has come down and Admire / Desire is ready to go. Click above for some photos of the gallery in progress.