From the front The Whitworth Gallery is a proud and dignified red brick Victorian palace of an Art Gallery. Standing proudly on Oxford road, a bustling and diverse area of Manchester, its turrets and beautiful circular entrance speak proudly of its Victorian heritage. Approached from a different angle, through the leafy Whitworth Park you get a very different first impression of this gallery, a contemporay, clean lined building with the warm glow of the interior inviting you into its large open gallery spaces and modern restaurant.
The Whitworth building has continually expanded and reinvented itself since it was first built 126 years ago but it has always kept the same objective, that it acts for the perpetual gratification of the people of Manchester.'
The gallery was originally named The Whitworth Institute and Park and was built to help and inspire people living in the grim reality of Manchester during the Industrial Revolution. At this time Manchester was the centre of the world's manufacturing and was a city which looked to the rest of the world for inspiration and trade. It's main industry was textiles and because of this cloth from all over the world was brought back to Manchester to be used as inspiration to manufacturers. As a result, when The Whitworth opened in 1908 it had one of the best textile collections in the world.
During the 1960's the gallery earned the nickname the 'Tate of the North' due to its support of new artists such as David Hockney and its Scandinavian inspired contemporary open spaces. It also had a wallpaper collection that equalled that of the V&A. Since then the Whitworth has expanded its size to cope with an increase in visitors and collections until it's very latest re-invention which led to a re-opening of the gallery in 2015 with double the public space.
The Whitworth is now a stunning Art Gallery whose building is a perfect synergy between the original and its stunning modern extensions. It regularly exhibits the best in contemporary art from all over the world and it's beautiful park has been carefully curated by Sarah Price and contains a beautiful sculpture terrace and orchard garden.
The Whitworth is truly a gem in the City of Manchester and continues to inspire and delight the people who live here. As a weaver and a designer who lives close to Manchester and works closely with the textile manufacturers of this part of England I am very proud to see my work on display at The Whitworth.