The Usher Gallery is a rather splendid classical brick and stone building on the edge of the city centre. This has been the city’s art gallery and collection of fine arts for nearly a hundred years. It is now part of “The Collection”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/152655-review-the-collection-museum, which is the art and archaeology collection for Lincoln. I have often admired the building driving out of Lincoln but this is my first visit.
It is a splendid building with generous size rooms. The main staircase and landing with its collection of marble statues, is particularly impressive. The rooms seem even a larger as many of them, especially the art galleries, have few contents. I’ll own up right at the start, paintings don’t do a lot for me. I whizzed through the first Gallery with ‘paintings of women’.
Beyond is what the map describes as the “studio pottery’ which contains display cases of pottery including some beautifully decorated cow creamers. There are also displays of silver gilt, glassware and spoons. On a small table for the children to play with is a small pottery tea set complete with pottery cakes on a three tier cake stand. Great fun.
Down a corridor lined with long clocks is a darkened room with the Charles Norman collection of C18th Derby porcelain and described as the finest collection in the world. It is certainly impressive with some beautifully painted work, mainly tea sets and cups. For me this was the highlight of the visit. There is also a small collection of pocket watches with the fronts covered with precious stones and a few miniature paintings.
Upstairs on the top landing is a collection of marble statues. Leading off this are two more art galleries, one with landscapes and including a very modern black and white daub entitled “off the bone” .
The second gallery contains a collection of still life paintings of flowers. There are also two rather trendy videos. One shows the making of a still art picture using fresh flowers and sand. The other has a woman with a piece of foam over her face and decorating it with flowers. Yes, right.
On the opposite side of the landing are two large display rooms with a changing program of exhibitions. When I visited, the first room had an exhibition entitled “Freedom lies”. I read the information sheet in the room but have to confess I wasn’t much the wiser. The second room had a couple of videos and some information about “Ghana Think Tank.” This apparently is an organisation aimed at developing the first world. It collects problems from the US and Europe and sends them to third world countries to analyse and solve. The Iranian solution to the elderly being seen as a burden to society was to “interview old people about their funny dirty memories, put them on mp3s and share them with young people”. Hmmm. Again I came away not much wiser.
Apart from the ceramics, the Usher Gallery didn’t do a lot for me and, to be honest, there isn’t a lot to see. But it is free.
There is a small shop selling mainly cards and jewellery.
There is ramped access into the building and a lift to the first floor rooms. Wheelchairs can be borrowed. There are some disabled spaces in the small car park on Danes Gate. There are disabled toilets.