Manchester Art Gallery

Emily Williamson Statue Campaign

‘Murderous Millinery’, the RSPB and Emily Williamson

30 October to 14 November 2021

Manchester Art Gallery is delighted to be hosting a small display about pioneering Mancunian Emily Williamson, who founded the RSPB. Emily lived in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, in the Croft which is now the café. The Emily Williamson Statue Campaign aims to commemorate Manchester’s eco pioneer with a life-size bronze in Fletcher Moss Park, guided by public vote. There are four potential designs by Clare Abbat, Billie Bond, Laury Dizengremel and Eve Shepherd and you can vote for your favourite. The voting ends at midnight on 12 November and the winner will be announced at Manchester Art Gallery on 13 November.

You can vote here

Pheasant feather hat  Satin hat adorned with bird wing

Murderous Millinery 

For half a century, from the 1870s to the 1920s, women on both sides of the Atlantic were gripped by a fashion craze for elaborately feathered hats. Not just feathers, but wings and whole birds; often several birds at a time. Species the world over were hunted systematically and to the brink of extinction, all for women’s millinery. Manchester Art Gallery has many of these feathered hats in its collection. The lucrative trade in feathers was seemingly unstoppable.

Until one Manchester woman dared to call it out.

Emily Williamson 

Emily Williamson, a solicitor’s wife from Didsbury, loved birds, hated cruelty and was appalled by the fashion for ‘murderous millinery’. Determined to halt the plumage trade, she invited her friends to tea at The Croft, Didsbury (today’s Fletcher Moss Park), and asked them to sign a pledge to Wear No Feathers. And so the RSPB was born, in 1889. All of its members were women. This was in contrast to the all-male British Ornithologists’ Union which was doing nothing to protect great crested grebes from becoming a fashion accessory.

Emily’s campaign snowballed. When her Society merged with Croydon’s Fur, Fin and Feather Folk in 1891, she became Vice President and continued to campaign for the RSPB, in Didsbury and then in Brook, Surrey. It triumphed with the Plumage Act of 1921, banning the import of exotic feathers. Countless bird species were saved from extinction, and the RSPB evolved into the powerful conservation charity it is today. Yet not one its founding members has been remembered by history.

Along with Emily, the two other founders of the RSPB, Etta Lemon and Eliza Phillips, will be also celebrated by large portrait drawings by Clare Abbat on display at the Gallery.

The Emily Williamson Festival

Alongside the display will be a festival on 12-13 November which explores Emily’s history and conservation legacy. Speakers include BBC Springwatch presenter Megan McCubbin and RSPB Chief Executive Beccy Speight and the festival culminates in the announcement of the winning sculpture.

Art Bites online 22 December

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 24 November

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 8 December

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 10 November

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 27 October

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 13 October

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 29 September

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 15 September

Our online programme is continuing throughout the autumn. If you can’t get to Manchester Art Gallery join us online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is basically a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.

 

Art Bites online 28 July

We can’t run events in the gallery at the moment, so we’ve moved these discussions online.

What is Art Bites?

Art bites is a session that usually runs every Wednesday lunchtime live in the gallery. A team of staff and volunteers lead a discussion focussing on two art works on display.

It is basically a chat about art sharing opinions and ideas. We discuss what we see, what we think about it, what it makes us think of, how it inspires us or repells us, what we find curious about it, how our own life experiences connect with it. It’s based on the idea that we all have something to say about a visual image based on our experiences.

You don’t need to have an art history degree to understand art works, and the experience of a shared discussion can give us new perspectives.

We focus on two art works that might have a similar theme but may have been created in very different ways.

The facilitator will ask a series of questions to get the conversation going and then we see where it takes us!

Art bites online

We will be using the platform Zoom to bring people together. https://zoom.us/

You can access zoom through a laptop, tablet or smart phone, just something that has a camera and mic. You don’t need to create an account to access the session.

If you would like to come along but feel unsure about Zoom, then do get in touch m.parnell@manchester.gov.uk

Want to join in?

To book onto this Art Bites session please book through Eventbrite

You will be emailed a link just before the start of the session and images of the art works we will be discussing.

There is a limit of 20 people in each session.

Art bites runs every Wednesday lunchtime, so if you can’t book on this one, join us another week.