I also went to Manchester Art Gallery to look for inspiration for some personal study - I was on the hunt for an artist or a style that I can learn from but also something that makes my toes curl when I look at it. I began in the Contemporary gallery without seeing anything of real interest, though I did note Peter Lanyon's Built Up Coast (http://jo-dyas-artfoundation-manc.blogspot.com/2011/12/manchester-art-gallery.html - scroll down and turn your head sideways to view!)
I decided that I might have better luck in the Craft and Design gallery and in making my way there I cut through the Pre-Raphaelite Gallery and saw the work of William de Morgan - Bingo! This isn't what I expected to grab me, and as yet I can't define what it is but I now have something to work with, it'll be interesting to see what, or even if, comes from this. All I need now is for the nice people at The Book Depository (Seriously cheaper than Amazon in this instance.) to deliver the source material, paid for by Santa!