Luxury hotel will host a fundraising extravaganza next month inspired by a rediscovered local artwork

THE FIVE-star Lowry Hotel is to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary with a fancy dress ball on March 4, inspired by a 200-year-old oil painting which now hangs in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

The inspirational painting, ‘A Fancy Dress Ball, Manchester’ by Arthur Perigal, records a local fundraiser held in 1828 as part of the Manchester Festival of Music. 3,500 people attended the major social event, held at the Theatre Royal in Peter Street, to help raise money for local charities.

Around 300 of the party-goers paid to have themselves included in the artwork, which was won in a raffle by a Mr Peacock who appears in the painting dressed as the Knave of Hearts. The local man eventually presented it to the City of Salford in 1852, and the artwork was restored in 1994 at a cost of £18,000.

Fancy Dress Ball
A Fancy Dress Ball, Manchester

Part of the Lowry Hotel’s recent £5.25m refurbishment includes purchases of original paintings and photographs. General Manager Adrian Ellis says his idea to encourage guests to attend the anniversary bash wearing period fancy dress costume was sparked off by seeing the painting in Salford Museum and Art Gallery soon after he joined the hotel in 2014. “The painting is so impressive and it got me wondering why we couldn’t do something similar today,” says Mr Ellis. “So I’m delighted we will be marking the Lowry hotel’s 15th anniversary year with an event which promises to be something very special.”  

Don’t worry if you don’t happen to have a full Poldark outfit or a nineteenth century corseted ball gown hiding in the corner of your wardrobe, The Lowry has been in touch with none other than the Royal Exchange for help. The theatre’s costume hire department rents out costumes which span 40 years of productions, covering all periods from the Romans to the 1950s, and has an extensive range of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian costumes. They have negotiated a reduced rate of £45 for period costume hire which includes all accessories from boots to hats. 

“We are grateful to the Royal Exchange,” added Mr Ellis, “they have a truly amazing range of costumes which will help make the night a true ‘historic period’ fancy dress ball. We would rather guests not come in superhero or animal costumes. We wish to bring back the splendour of that night in 1828 when the great and the good of the city attended to raise money for charity. It will be huge fun and all for a very worthy cause.”

The luxury hotel will be teaming up with Maggie’s Manchester, in order to help raise vital funds for the charity which provides emotional, practical and social support for people with cancer. Maggie’s newly opened centre, designed by Norman Foster is set in the grounds of the Christie Hospital.

READ: Maggie's - Is This Manchester's Best New Building?

Sinead Collins, Centre Head at Maggie’s, said: “Art and architecture are important to Maggie’s. Our beautifully designed Centre, which features artwork from the Whitworth Art Gallery collection, helps provide an uplifting and therapeutic space for our visitors to gather, so we’re delighted to have the link to this fabulous painting.”

Maggie’s Centre provides a full programme of support for people affected by cancer, including psychological support, benefits advice, nutrition workshops, relaxation and stress management, art therapy, tai chi and yoga. The charity relies on voluntary donations and proceeds from the event will help support the 60,000 visits they expect each year.

Tickets will be priced at £99 per head, which includes a three course dinner, live music from a four piece choir, and a DJ. There will be a raffle and auction on the night. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Lowry Hotel on 0161 827 4000 or from Maggie’s Manchester  on 0161 641 4857 via Emma Halman or Ruth Tobi.