The Art of Noise – An Exhibition linking Art & Music. Mother and Child and The Beatles

The Art of Noise – An Exhibition linking Art & Music. Mother and Child and The Beatles

The Atkinson Development Trust chose “Lady Madonna” to accompany “Mother and Child” for the following reasons. This is currently on display in The Art of Noise exhibition, open Monday until  Saturday, 10am – 4pm. The exhibition explores the relationship between Art & Music.

Firstly, Arthur Dooley and The Beatles share much in common. They were all born and raised in Liverpool. In fact, Dooley and Ringo Starr were both born in The Dingle. Dooley and The Beatles came to prominence  at the same time. Arthur Dooley’s first professional exhibition was held in 1961 and in the same year The Beatles met Brian Epstein at The Cavern ,which led to them being signed to EMI’s Parlophone label in early 1962.

Most of Dooley’s work has a religious theme , although he was a member of the Communist Party. His sculpture of “Mother and Child” is  a tribute to motherhood  and childbearing, themes that also occur in the song “Lady Madonna”.  When Paul McCartney began to write “Lady Madonna” , he was initially  thinking of the Virgin Mary  but changed it to refer to a “working class mother” who was overworked and exhausted.


He said “I think women are very strong, they put up with a lot ,they put up with the pain of having a child, of raising it, cooking for it, they are basically skivvies a lot of their lives, so I always want to pay a tribute to them”. No doubt, as a Socialist,  Arthur Dooley would have echoed those sentiments.  Thus, there is a very strong connection between the sculpture and the song.

An interesting correlation to this theme  is Dooley’s sculpture in Mathew Street, Liverpool which depicts the Madonna holding 3 “Beatle Babies” along with a “Cherub Beatle” ,which is thought to represent the late John Lennon. The Madonna figure represents Liverpool as the “Mother City” of The Beatles.

Given the above connections, how could we have chosen any other song to go with the sculpture?


Written by Peter Cowley, Vice-Chair, The Atkinson Development Trust


Posted on 13 September 2018 under Exhibitions

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