The Last Bohemian: Augustus John

17 May – 30 August 2021

The Last Bohemian: Augustus John will showcase around 40 works by one of Britain’s most iconic and controversial artists. The exhibition will include 18 loans from across the north west and National Museum Wales.

Augustus John (1878-1961) was Britain’s leading portrait painter at the turn of the 20th century. Often described as a bohemian, he developed a passion for Gypsy lore and language and embraced a Travellers’ lifestyle. He was particularly famous for his technical drawing skill which he developed at London’s Slade School of Art. He formed close friendships with those he loved and admired, and this exhibition is a testament to those relationships.

John moved to Liverpool in 1901 to teach at the Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art, part of today’s University of Liverpool. The exhibition explores his time in the city, which greatly influenced his life and career and is where he made his first etchings.

Lord Leverhulme’s infamous ‘beheaded’ portrait will claim the spotlight and the exhibition will examine the extraordinary events that provoked Lever to destroy his own portrait. The scandal was leaked to the press, causing outrage and protest.

As Britain’s leading celebrity painter, John’s portraits were often uncompromising and searching, famously capturing the true character and personality of each sitter. His celebrated portraits of acclaimed poets William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) and Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) will feature in the exhibition. Key moments of John’s life will also be represented, illustrating his artistic achievements and undoubtable contribution to British art.


Further information:
  • Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm; closed Mondays, except bank holidays; Booking is essential
  • Free entry
  • Location Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight Village, Wirral CH62 5EQ
  • Getting there: By Car: if you are travelling from Liverpool, use the Birkenhead (Queensway) tunnel. From elsewhere, leave the M53 at junction 4 and follow the signs for Port Sunlight village; By Bus: 464 bus to Bebington Road (from Sir Thomas St in Liverpool) 38 bus to Bebington rail station (runs between Clatterbridge Hospital and West Kirby station).
  • For more information please call 0151 478 4136