Walker – Liverpool Cityscape

ben johnson image 1Ben Johnson – The Liverpool Cityscape. Exhibition May 24 – Nov 2 2008
The internationally-renowned artist has been working on The Liverpool Cityscape for over three years. At 8ft x 16ft the stunning panorama of 2008’s European Capital of Culture is the largest and most complex painting ever undertaken by the artist.

From a vantage point high above the River Mersey the painting covers nearly 170,000 hectares and boasts over a thousand buildings. Featured Liverpool landmarks include the Three Graces at the Pier Head, Liverpool’s two cathedrals and even the two football stadia to the north of the city. The painting also reveals buildings that are in reality still under construction. By using detailed architectural drawings the panorama includes the Museum of Liverpool on the waterfront and the impressive Liverpool One development as completed.

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Visitors will be fascinated by the complex process required to produce accurate detail on this scale. They will watch Ben and his assistants use precise stencils of intricate computer-made drawings of individual buildings to mask specific areas of the canvas. The artist then applies paint from a range of several hundred hand-mixed colours with spray-guns. The final touching-in of any minute areas of bare canvas is done using a fine paint brush.

Listen to Ian Jackson’s interview with Ben Johnson here

The awe-inspiring artwork promises to be an important and memorable legacy for Liverpool during this exciting point in its history.


The monumental painting has been commissioned by National Museums Liverpool, with the Liverpool Culture Company and Professor Phil Redmond CBE and Mrs Alexis Redmond.

A series of free public talks by the artist run throughout the residency. Please check the website or call the information desk for further details.

The finished painting will be on display in the exhibition Ben Johnson’s Liverpool Cityscape 2008 and the World Panorama Series from 24 May to 2 November 2008 at the Walker Art Gallery. The exhibition will display The Liverpool Cityscape alongside Johnson’s other world cities series of paintings, including images of Zürich, Hong Kong and Chicago. This will be the first time that these works are exhibited together.

The painting will eventually be on permanent display at the Museum of Liverpool in 2010/11

The exhibition has been sponsored by the University of Liverpool. Others who have supported the commission include David M Robinson, Liverpool Vision, Northwest Regional Development Agency, Ethel Austin Property Group, Barbara A McVey and Rensburg Sheppards.

Venue details