Second floor area

Welcome to the ‘Ghislaine Howard Collection’ at Elliot House, home of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

The rooms on the first floor are open to visit as is the space on the second floor. If not in use, the four rooms on the ground floor may also be visited.

From 12.00-5.00pm on the last Friday of the month, all the spaces in the Chamber are open to visitors.

We hope that you enjoy your visit. For further information or for any enquiries regarding the work, please contact Ghislaine via:


The art in the second floor space is currently undergoing a restructure therefore some of the pictures here may not be up in the building. This webpage will be updated as soon as possible.

The White Room






The Corridor and Seating Area


2 Self Portrait with a Face Maskacrylic on board60x24”Painted at the beginning of lockdown wearing a home made mask. This was the first of what was to become a series of self portraits made during that year.

3 Couple During Labouroil on canvas36x36’’In 1992 I applied for and was offered a four month residency at Saint Mary’s Maternity Hospital - the very hospital where I had given birth to my son Max and my daughter Cordelia. The residency culminated in a one person exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. This painting was developed from hundreds of drawings and studies that I made during my time at the hospital.


4 Woman by the Waves acrylic on board24x36”A response to a beautiful poem by Wallace Stevens ‘The Idea of Order at Key West”




5. Two drawings from Embracing Manchester

In the immediate aftermath of the Arena attack, a young man stood in Saint Ann’s Square, blindfolded, a rucksack on his back with a handwritten notice at his feet that carried these words: ‘I’m a young Muslim man and I trust you, do you trust me enough for a hug?’. . . .’ Inspired by this act and the response it drew from passers-by, I painted small panels of as many of the embraces that followed as I could. A selection of the paintings were exhibited at Saint Ann’s church and following that event I was asked if I would show some of my paintings here at the Chamber. After some discussion and a number of conversations, our present relationship with the Chamber has come into being and I am delighted that Chamber is now home to ‘The Ghislaine Howard Collection’.


6 Young Man Drinking Tea acrylic on board36x24”Another rehearsal study - this time from a company called ‘Acting on Impulse’. Their mission statement says it all: ‘Picture a group of people who are used to being looked down on and marginalised by society. They all come from different beliefs and different cultures, but they have one thing in common: they all know what it’s like to be homeless. Now picture the same folk, smartly dressed, smiling and taking a bow in front of a big screen. The audience rises to their feet in a standing ovation, filled with a fresh understanding of the issues faced by the homeless. The actors leave the stage with new self-esteem, justifiably proud of what they have achieved together. That is our vision. Giving people a profile and a voice.’


7 Embracing Manchester, Man in a Blue Top acrylic on board8x6”

8 Embracing Manchester, Young Woman in a Wheelchair acrylic on board6x8”Two of the small panels painted in response to the action of Bako, the young man who stood blindfolded in Saint Ann’s Square and whose action has been an inspiration to so many. Thirty-six of these panels may be seen in the Connect Room on first floor.



9 Women Embracing oil on board24x24”A painting of two women comforting each other which developed from one of my daily paintings based on news media imagery.

10 Study for The Departure acrylic on board12x9”At the end of a shared holiday, two of our friends embrace before going their separate ways.


11 Study for Father and Son acrylic on board12x9”A small study for a larger painting. But all the ingredients are in place, the challenge is to keep the energy and freshness in the finished piece. For me drawing and painting are one: As the painter Walter Sickert once said: ‘Any fool can paint, but drawing is the thing, drawing is the real test’.


12 Cordelia Pouring Wine acrylic on board36x24”A painting made from a drawing of our daughter Cordelia at work. She was then a drama student in London and worked part-time in a posh London pub. It was a curious and rather wonderful experience for us to watch her expertise in dealing with a demanding and sometimes quite rude clientele.


13 Model in a Black Gown oil on canvas50x40”The model takes a few moments to relax between poses and in looking at her phone unwittingly suggest a painting by Vermeer.


14 Max, The First Day oil on canvas48x72”Although this was painted some weeks after Max was born, it captures those first moments of separation when a new child begins their own journey.


15 Actor with Arms Outstretched acrylic on canvas40x72”‘People call me the painter of dancing girls’, Degas told the Paris art dealer Ambroise Vollard, ‘It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes’. Like him, I am drawn to the theatre, and like him, it is not necessarily the final production that fascinates me, but the rehearsals when the actors and the characters that they are portraying are still in flux. This painting developed from rapid drawings made during rehearsals for a production of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera at the Contract Theatre in Manchester.


16 Study for Welcome the Stranger acrylic on board18x18”Two figures meet and embrace. A small study for a larger painting within the Seven Acts sequence of paintings. In this painting I was looking to find a sense of movement - seeking that moment when the two separate figures would fuse into one expressive unit.


17 Skateboarder oil on board48x24”One of an ongoing series of paintings of skateboarders. I’m fascinated by the eloquent choreography of their movements as they twist and turn through space.


18 Embracing Manchester, Woman in a White Top oil on board48x24”


19 Young Boy “Tiptoe Walking” oil on board36x24’A study made of a young boy with cerebral palsy being assessed at Salford University’s Gait Measuring Laboratory.


20 New Mother on the Ward acrylic on canvas40X50”A painting that was developed from a quick sketch of the young woman in the bed next to mine after I’d had my first child Max. I was struck by the intensity and wonder of her gaze as she spent the first moments alone with her new child.


21 Pregnant Self Portrait oil on board31x23”A painting that I will never part with. Michael was offered, and accepted, a post at the History of Art department at MMU. We made the difficult decision to leave the south of France where he had been teaching and return to our native North-West. I was still uncertain of my direction as an artist. However, one hot July day in 1984, I caught sight of myself in the studio mirror and realised that it was simply enough to paint myself - my own experiences. It sounds so obvious today, but back then images of pregnancy were unusual in contemporary media and in the art history books. It was a great pleasure for me that this painting was included in a recent exhibition at the Foundling Museum in London, ‘ Portraying Pregnancy from Holbein to Social Media’.