Explore The World Of Painters & Stainers At Bolton Museum

| 28 April 2004
Shows a photograph of double panelled doors. Each panel is elaborately and brightly painted.

Photo: The Painted Illusion. Thomas Kershaw. Courtesy Bolton Museums.

The Painted Illusion – Art Imitating Nature, presents the work of internationally-renowned craftsman Thomas Kershaw and is on show at Bolton Museum, Art Gallery and Aquarium until May 8.

Thomas Kershaw was born in 1819 and began his professional life as a painter and decorator in Bolton.

Yearning to stretch himself, he experimented with techniques of graining and marbling in which paint is used to imitate rich, natural materials such as wood and stone.

By the time of his death in 1898, Kershaw had become perhaps the most famous and admired practitioner of his craft in the UK and his work adorned the houses of the country’s elite.

Shows a close-up photograph of some marbled paint work. It is gold and brown in colour.

Photo: The Painted Illusion. Thomas Kershaw. Courtesy Bolton Museums.

His ability was astonishing as he developed tools, paints and methods to help produce near perfect imitations of marble, oak and numerous other types of natural material.

Bolton Museum and Art Gallery were given 11 of Kershaw’s unique grained and marbled panels by his executors, and in 1993 museum conservators set about restoring them.

All 11 are on display as part of the Painted Illusion exhibition, alongside four panels on loan from the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, which are normally on show at the V&A.

The organisation dates back to the 16th century, but there are records of the Stainers Company as far back as 1268, while the Painters get a mention in 1283.

In 1502 they came together to form the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, receiving a charter from Elizabeth I in 1581 and a further one from James II in 1685.

Shows a photograph of a cylinder which has been painted in a marbled style. It is a deep-red, almost brown colour, and has splashes of a more beige/gold colour throughout.

Photo: The Painted Illusion. Thomas Kershaw. Courtesy Bolton Museums.

"The Thomas Kershaw panels are a major part of Bolton Museum and Art Gallery’s art collection," said Cllr Laurie Williamson, Bolton Council Executive Member for Culture.

"With panels on display from the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, this is yet another high profile exhibition for Bolton."

Also included is a selection of work by some of the UK’s best contemporary grainers and marblers, while further Kershaw panels have been borrowed from Edinburgh’s Telford College.

The exhibition has been co-organised by the Painting Craft Teachers Association, which will be holding free demonstrations on April 29-30 (10.00-17.00) and May 1 (10.00-12.00).

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
  • Back to top
  • | Print this article
  • | Email this article
  • | Bookmark and Share


  • 1 mile
  • 2 miles
  • 3 miles
  • 4 miles
  • 5 miles
  • 10 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 50 miles
  • Any time
  • Today
  • This week
  • This month
  • This year