An exhibition celebrating the work of Chester’s favourite artist opens at the city’s Grosvenor Museum. ‘Louise Rayner: Victorian Watercolours’ displays the largest public collection of her work and runs from 21 January to 17 April.
Louise Rayner was born in Derbyshire in 1832. Her father Samuel Rayner (1806-79) was an accomplished painter of architectural watercolours, and her mother, brother and four sisters were also artists. She was taught by her parents and their artist friends, and first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852.
Louise Rayner is first recorded at Chester in 1869. She lived at 2 Ash Grove off the Wrexham Road, boarding with Robert Shearing (who owned a chemist’s shop in Watergate Street) and his wife Mary Anne. From Chester she sent work to exhibitions in London and elsewhere, and in the 1870s and ’80s spent a couple of months each summer in different British towns and cities. In the 1890s her sister Margaret (1837-1920) came to lodge with her at Chester, where they taught watercolour drawing. They left Chester around 1910, and Louise died at St Leonards-on-Sea in 1924.
The exhibition includes four watercolours by Louise Rayner’s father Samuel and sister Margaret. They are very accomplished works and provide a fascinating context for Louise Rayner’s better-known pictures. The conservation of these pictures was generously funded by the Megan Gwynne-Jones Charitable Trust.
Events for adults:
- Every day. Guided Walking Tours of Chester with the Guild of Chester Tour Guides.
- Tuesdays 24 January onwards. Watercolour Painting sessions at Funky Aardvark.
- Thursday 16 February. Louise Rayner Exhibition Tour.
- Wednesday 22 & Saturday 25 March. Exploring Louise Rayner’s Chester: Guided Walk with the Guild of Chester Tour Guides.
Events for families:
- Thursday 23 February. Waxy Works.
- Wednesday 5 April. The Victorian Chemist’s Shop.
- Saturday 8 April. Slow Art Day.
- Wednesday 12 April. Chester through the Eyes of a Tourist.