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WL Wyllie RA: Maritime artist and printmaker

A display of watercolours, etchings and oils sketches by WL Wyllie, in the Prints & Drawings Room

William Lionel Wyllie RA was one of the most revered maritime artists of the 19th century. He was born in London 1851 into an artistic family and was encouraged to study art from a young age. By fifteen he was a pupil at the Royal Academy and only two years later was exhibiting work there. Throughout his adult life he gained fame and praise for his artistic talent, gaining the Turner Gold Medal in 1869 and then being elected a Royal Academician in 1907. He had a strong connection with Portsmouth having lived here from 1906-1931 and was fascinated by naval shipping and the costal landscape. He was also instrumental in the long-term preservation of HMS Victory which became a life-long source of inspiration.

 HMS Victory, etching by WL Wyllie
HMS Victory, etching by WL Wyllie

Spitbank Fort, watercolour by WL Wyllie. Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services
Spitbank Fort, watercolour by WL Wyllie. Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services

Discover more about the exhibition here.

Game Over: The Future of the Past

Portsmouth Museum and Game Over are proud to present Game Over: The Future of the Past, the largest single private collection of TV games, home computers and consoles on display in the UK. From the first Pong TV game to the latest PlayStation console, this new free exhibition spans over 40 years of home video gaming.

Practice your retro gaming skills on a hand-picked selection of playable consoles and explore the history of the video game with over 100 machines on display. An exciting programme of events will be running alongside the exhibition, including the chance to make your own video-game inspired pixel-artworks with local artist Kendal James. Game Over: The Future of the Past is a hands-on experience for veteran gamers and newbies alike - don’t miss it.

Where are you going? Journeys in pictures from the collections of Portsmouth Museums

Portsmouth's collections include many works of art that show people on the move.  In this selection of paintings, photographs and prints people use different types of transport to travel on land, by water and in the air.  Some pictures show recognisable places and familiar journeys - ferry trips on the Solent and people travelling around the city by bicycle or on foot.  Others depict less obvious journeys and are more open to interpretation.  So come on down to Portsmouth Museum and see where we can take you.

San Mignano, Tuscany by Benjamin Haughton.©Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services

Past News - Visit this page for news of some of our past projects.

What's at Portsmouth Museum

Portsmouth Museum explores different facets of Portsmouth’s rich and varied history – from the everyday to moments when the city has played its role in national and international events.  The city’s art and design collections are showcased here. The museum provides an excellent introduction to the city for visitors and its inviting spaces and events programme are popular with residents.

The museum with its turrets and pointed roofs - reminiscent of a fairy-tale castle - is in fact a former barracks. Its formally laid out, south-facing garden is used in the summer for events. The museum is home to a new Visitor Information point which means visitors can find out about the city’s wider cultural offer as well as booking accommodation and tickets to the city’s other cultural venues and attractions.

Portsmouth City Museum stocks copies of The Portsmouth Papers. Click here for more information about these short historical documents or to order copies.

Permanent Exhibitions  

No Place like Pompey 

What makes Portsmouth unique? Is it one particular place, the city’s geography, its past or its people?  This exhibition looks at some of the things that make "Pompey” special. This is the UK’s only island city, the city is ringed by forts both on land and in the sea and its history has been shaped by its relationship with the Royal Navy and Dockyard.  The exhibition explains many of the things you will notice as you explore the city and the visitor information staff at the museum will help plan your visit.

A Study in Sherlock: Uncovering the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection
This exhibition showcases the largest collection pertaining to Doyle and his creation Sherlock Holmes in the world.  The gallery explores Doyle’s early life as a doctor in Portsmouth, his sporting activity and later interest in spiritualism as well as Sherlock Holmes as depicted in film, theatre, advertising and elsewhere.  It includes a Sherlock Holmes mystery and a narration by Stephen Fry, patron of the collection.

Decorative Arts Gallery  

Rediscovery: The decorative arts

See 200 years of design history in ceramics, furniture, textiles, decorative tiles, embroidery, illustrations and glass from the decorative arts collection. The artists, designers and craft makers featured include: Vanessa Bell, Dora Carrington, William De Morgan, Christopher Dresser, Duncan Grant, Bernard Leech, AWN Pugin and Lucie Rie. Also kindly on loan from the Crafts Council is a ceramic piece by Grayson Perry, who studied at Portsmouth Art College.

From 21st October 2017. Admission free.

Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall Pot, Grayson Perry, 1996. Crafts Council Collection: P442. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography.

Other Galleries 
Other galleries explore the city’s relationship with football - especially Pompey’s FA Cup wins in 2008 and 1939 – the seaside at Southsea and Portsmouth homes from 1680 to 1960. The Fine and Decorative Art Gallery features our wide range of artwork from seventeenth century chairs to contemporary ceramics, from serene landscape paintings by the local Cole family of artists to vivid abstract paintings of the twentieth century.

Portsmouth City Museums



All pictures are copyright of Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services

Portsmouth Museums
Visit the Natural History Museum Site
Visit the D-day museum site
Visit the Charles Dickens Birthplace site
Visit the Southsea Castle site
Visit the Portsmouth Museum Portal site


Looking at the 1950s living room

Fine and decorative art on display

Portsmouth at Play gallery

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