Tony Wilson room

Welcome to the ‘Ghislaine Howard Collection’ at Elliot House, home of 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 will enjoy your visit. For further information or for any enquiries regarding the work, please contact Ghislaine on:


The paintings on view in these rooms trace the journey from pregnancy and birth to old age - a theme that is, perhaps, the one that underpins all I do.


1. Mother and Son

This painting was developed from one of my small daily news image paintings. I was drawn to a newspaper photograph of a mother and her son comforting each other in the aftermath of a hurricane.


2. Father and Son

There are times when something glimpsed in a moment strikes home. We were visiting an exhibition in Abbott Hall Art Gallery in Kendal.  As we entered the final room we were struck by the way the son was supporting his father as they moved slowly from painting to painting.

3. Max and Tallis

No words are necessary really, but I hope that this painting (and so many others of mine) suggest the pleasure and privilege of an artist/mother who is able to record the daily lives and unguarded moments of her immediate and extended family.

4. Reaching Figure (Visit the Prisoner)

One of a number of interpretations I have made of this subject. Visit the Prisoner is one of the Seven Acts of Mercy and is part of a series of works that I have been working on for a number of years.

5. Embracing Manchester

A painting that came about in response to the action of a young Muslim man in the days after the Arena attack. He stood blindfolded in Saint Ann’s Square in Manchester with a cardboard sign at his feet that read: ‘I’m Muslim and I trust you, do you trust me enough for a hug?’ Wary at first, queues of people eventually formed to exchange embraces. I was moved by the courage of his action and decided to record as many of the embraces as I could.

6. Welcome the Stranger

Another work relating to the Seven Acts of Mercy.

7. Saskia Pregnant

So much of my work has touched on pregnancy and the beginnings of life. This painting depicts my friend Saskia, then heavily pregnant. I didn’t want to tire her too much so I worked as fast as I could. I did drawings in the morning and painted the canvas in one session. Working at speed can release a particular energy that leaves no space for over-thinking.

8. Mother Reaching Towards Her New Child

One of the paintings made in preparation for my exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, A Shared Experience back in 1993, which was the result of a four-month residency at Saint Mary’s Maternity Unit, charting and interpreting aspects of hospital birth.

9. Self-Portrait with Max

One of the first large scale paintings I made of myself with our son Max

10. Mother with New Child

One of the works shown in the Shared Experience exhibition.

I caught this moment in a charcoal drawing, only moments after this baby was born - the painting followed soon after.


11. Study for ‘Self-Portrait with Max’

A charcoal study for the painting of the same title that can be seen in second of the Tony Wilson rooms. Drawings such as this are an important stage in the development of any major painting. This drawing is one completed quite late in the process and I think of it as a work in its own right as well as being final moment of establishing the core elements of the composition.