The Walker Art Gallery was built between 1873 and 1877 by Andrew Barclay Walker, a brewer, for the annual Liverpool Autumn Exhibitions. The success of these exhibitions enabled the Walker to build up a remarkable collection of contemporary British art. In 1933 a new extension made it by far the largest of the English regional art galleries, and it began to collect first historic British art and later European art on a considerable scale. In 1948 it received the famous collection of early Netherlandish and Italian paintings formed by William Roscoe early in the nineteenth century. The John Moores exhibitions, beginning in 1957, enabled the Gallery to acquire many important modern British paintings. In 1978 it took over the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, immensely rich in British paintings, sculpture and furniture, and in both English and Chinese ceramics. Reflecting its pre-eminence among British provincial galleries, the Walker Art Gallery became in 1986 a national gallery, funded by central government.