A hand-coloured lithograph of two Great Tits sat clasping the narrow branches of a flowered tree. The bird to the right faces forward, looking to the viewer, and the bird to the left looks to the right and slightly upwards towards his partner. John Gould, known as the 'bird man', was the leading publisher of bird illustrations in Victorian Britain. Great Tit is one of 367 plates from his 'Birds of Great Britain' issued between 1862 and 1873 in five volumes. It was the most comprehensive record of British birds to date and a significant artistic and scientific achievement. Gould drew many of the initial rough sketches himself which were then passed on for completion to the skilled illustrator Henry Richter.
Art for All: Thomas Horsfall’s Gift to Manchester Thomas Coglan Horsfall (1844-1932) was a pioneering philanthropist who established the Manchester Art Museum in 1884 in Harpurhey, moving it to larger premises at Ancoats Hall in 1886. The Museum was at the forefront of developments in art education, operating an innovative picture loan scheme for schools. In the 1880s, Harpurhey and Ancoats were crowded working class areas: the residents lived hard lives in impoverished surroundings. Horsfall wanted to make them aware of natural beauty by means of the Museum. He decided to locate the Museum close to their homes and to open it until 10 o’clock at night and on Sundays so that working people could visit. The Museum showed decorative and industrial art, original paintings and drawings, and copious reproductions. The works of art were arranged in themed rooms and everything had an explanatory label. Clubs for rambling, singing and woodcarving were formed and twice-weekly entertainments were held in the Museum’s concert hall. In 1918, the Museum and its contents were transferred to the management of Manchester City Council. The Museum finally closed in 1953. The majority of the items in this exhibition are from the original Museum. The exhibition has been co-curated by the Year 5 pupils at St Augustine’s CE Primary School in Harpurhey, Manchester.
support: 42.5cm x 30.2cm
Place of creation
Transferred from the Horsfall Museum Collection, 1918