There’s nowhere for a Dame?

It’s a bit of a shame but efforts to find a festive ‘place-of-honour’  for Bath artist Paul Gunning’s wonderful ceramic sculpted tribute to the late and great panto dame Chris Harris seems to have come to nothing.

The Chris Harris sculpture by artist Paul Gunning.
The Chris Harris sculpture by artist Paul Gunning.

Chris, who died at the age of 71 in April this year – spent most of the 1990’s writing, directing and starring in pantomime at the Bristol Old Vic and then did the same during the last 13 years at Bath’s Theatre Royal – right up to last Christmas.

It was at that theatre the Virtual Museum tried to find a place for the sculpture over this year’s forthcoming panto season but  General Manager Eugene Hibbert was sorry to be the bringer of bad news.

In an email to Paul Gunning he said: ‘ I am afraid we are not going to have any space to display your ceramic – a couple of spaces we had earmarked have been taken up by the panto production for merchandising and christmas cards.’

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery will be having a specially-made festive tree in its foyer so there’s no room there either.

The ceramic figure of Chris – dressed as Window Twankey – was one of eleven temporary installations from MA ceramics and textiles students at Bath Spa University’s School of Art & Design which were briefly on show at the Holburne Museum.

Paul – who is a MA Design: Ceramics graduate this year  – explained his choice of subject on a card alongside the figure.

It read: ‘ I’ve always been drawn to the Holburne’s ceramic figures and paintings of actors. When l decided to create this figure, Chris was very much alive and heaving the matronly bosom.

Now the work is dedicated to the memory of a generous, funny man who looked fantastic in lipstick and Doc Martens.’