RIBA North


While we were in Liverpool recently we called into RIBA North which opened recently.  it’s the northern HQ for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and it’s located next door to the Open Eye Gallery in the Mann Island development at the Pier Head in Liverpool. As well as offices and meeting rooms there’s a café, a shop a couple of exhibition spaces where they’re currently showing Liverpool(e): Mover Shaker Architectural Risk-Taker  an exhibition of photographs and plans from the RIBA collection of buildings in Liverpool, including some which were never realised. The exhibition also includes a video presentation about four iconic buildings in the city.  In the second gallery space there’s an interactive 3D digital model of the centre of Liverpool and a play area for children.


Outside in the in Winter Gardens, a covered public area immediately outside the entrance, there’s a large art work, Un-Veiled,  produced to mark the opening of RIBA North which was created by Architects KHBT – Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler.It’s made of curtains of mesh fabric, used on building site scaffolding, cut to form sections of some of the North’s iconic modern buildings – The Sage Gateshead in Newcastle, Imperial War Museum North, Liverpool Catholic Cathedral and York Minster



You can walk into the “pavilion” and wander around inside, which was quite fun.




However, I couldn’t recognise the sections of the buildings!

William Blake at Tate Liverpool


Satan smiting Job with boils

Tracey Emin’s bed was being shown as part of an exhibition which is meant to explore the connection between this controversial work and the paintings of William Blake.

According to the Tate

This new display affirms Blake’s Romantic idea of artistic truth through existential pain and the possibility of spiritual rebirth through art, shared in the work of Tracey Emin.

I have to say I found it difficult to see any real connection – if there is one it is rather tenuous. But it was great to see a significant collection of magnificent prints and drawings by Blake, most of which I hadn’t seen before “in the flesh”, displayed together in Liverpool. A real treat.

William Blake is something of a hero of mine. As well as a visual artist – a painter and printmaker – he is also well known as a poet. He was a political radical – a supporter of the French Revolution – and a religious visionary.

 File:William Blake by Thomas Phillips.jpg

(Picture source : Wikipedia)

He was also an innovator, developing a printing technique known as relief etching and used it to print most of his poetry. He called the technique illuminated printing and the poetry illuminated books. Many of the works on display in the exhibition were created using this process.

This is just a small selection of them


Pity (c 1795)

This image is taken from Macbeth: ‘pity, like a naked newborn babe / Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim horsed / Upon the sightless couriers of the air’. Blake draws on popularly-held associations between a fair complexion and moral purity. These connections are also made by Lavater, who writes that ‘the grey is the tenderest of horses, and, we may here add, that people with light hair, if not effeminate, are yet, it is well known, of tender formation and constitution’. (Tate website)


The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve c.1826

This work shows Adam and Eve discovering their dead son. His brother Cain, the murderer, flees the scene. Despite his evil deed, Cain, appears as an ideal male figure. (Tate website)


Nebuchadnezzar 1795–c.1805



The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy (formerly called ‘Hecate’) circa 1795

Enitharmon is an important female character in Blake’s mythology, playing a main part in some of his prophetic books. She is the Emanation of Los, and with Los gives birth to various children, including Orc. Although symbolising spiritual beauty and poetic inspiration (some critics have argued that Blake’s wife Catherine was the inspiration for the character) she is also used by Blake to represent female domination and sexual restraints that limit the artistic imagination (Tate website)