Display cabinet upgrade for Victoria Gallery.

Display cabinet upgrade for Victoria Gallery.

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery’s display cabinets will be upgraded this year thanks to a grant of £31,500 from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport / Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund.

victoria art gallery

Victoria Art Gallery

The grants are jointly funded through a partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Wolfson Foundation. The Victoria Art Gallery’s grant was one of five made in memory of Giles Waterfield, former director of Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We are grateful to DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation for this grant, which will allow the gallery to purchase new, conservation-grade cabinets to house outstanding watercolours, drawings and prints from the collection, including works by JMW Turner, Thomas Rowlandson and Thomas Malton. These will be on display in the Upper Gallery, which is free for everyone to visit 

“The purchase of new display cabinets is part of the gallery’s long-term strategy to display more of its extensive collection of works on paper for visitors to enjoy.” 

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital and Culture, said: “Our museums and galleries are among the best in the world and we should be rightly proud of these institutions. 

“We want people to be able to enjoy world-leading culture wherever they live and whatever their background. These grants will make an important contribution toward increasing access to their wonderful collections and improving the visitor experience at museums right across the country.

“I applaud the Wolfson Foundation’s generosity in once again matching the Government’s investment pound for pound in this important work.”

Paul Ramsbottom, CEO of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “This is a wonderful example of how a charity and government can work fruitfully together in partnership and we are grateful to government for matching our funding. The awards demonstrate the richness and variety of the country’s museum collections.

“In announcing these awards I also want to pay tribute to Giles Waterfield. He was a brilliant advisor to the programme from its inception and sparkled at an expert panel meeting in the very week in which he tragically and unexpectedly died. We all owe him a great deal.”

The grant will be made after 1st April 2017. The Friends of Victoria Art Gallery will also donate £5,000 towards the new cabinets. The money is being awarded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport / Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund specifically for this project.

For more information about the Victoria Art Gallery visit www.victoriagal.org.uk

Half a million pledge from Brownswords for Abbey

Half a million pledge from Brownswords for Abbey

Andrew and Christina Brownsword, via The Brownsword Charitable Foundation, have agreed to give £500,000 in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s Footprint project in order to encourage local businesses and organisations to support the project and raise £1 million.


Andrew and Christina Brownsword.

The Footprint project is a programme of capital works and interpretation that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. After nearly a decade of planning, consultation and development work, building work is due to start this Autumn. However, the Abbey still needs to complete its major fundraising appeal in order for the building work to take place. This is where the Brownswords have stepped in.


The Footprint Appeal was set up to raise £19.4 million for the Abbey’s ambitious and transformative programme. Thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and additional funds from private individuals and trusts, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors, the Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise.


Project Director, Charles Curnock.

Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “We are extremely  grateful to the Brownswords for stepping in with their generous offer. By pledging half a million in match funding towards the Footprint Appeal, they are giving added motivation and a real impetus to our fundraising appeal. We hope businesses and individuals will join in and will be more inclined to give once they know that match funding is offered. With £1 million left to raise, you may think most of the hard work is done.

However, there is still a mammoth task ahead. I understand that the hardest part of raising funds for any project is often the last and final hurdle. So, while we’re immensely grateful to everyone who has supported the Footprint project so far, we still need to raise this final amount in order for the project to succeed and, if you don’t already know about it, I urge you to find out more about how our project will benefit those in Bath as well as visitors to the city.”

Andrew and Christina Brownsword are well known in Bath for their generous philanthropy to various charities and good causes. The match funding will be triggered every time someone makes a donation to the Footprint project, up to a total of £500,000, thus raising £1 million in all.

Andrew Brownsword said: “The Abbey plays a vital role in the city, making a significant impact on those who live, work and visit Bath. Many people feel a connection with the Abbey, whether through worship and prayer, its beautiful music or architecture, or simply by popping in for a few moments of quiet. The Footprint project is essential in ensuring the Abbey is able to carry on these contributions to city life; as the city of Bath grows and changes, so must the Abbey.


“We can see from the huge amount of care and work that has already gone into the first stage of the Footprint project, that this programme of change will maintain, make the most of and improve this magnificent building and its resources. We feel now is the right time to offer our support so that we can inspire other individuals, businesses and trusts to help this ground-breaking project that is much needed in order for the Abbey to continue to inspire and bring lasting benefits to future generations.”


Work underway on the Abbey Courtyard side .

As part of Phase 1 of the Abbey’s Footprint project, some initial excavation work is taking place along the south side of the building, just outside the Abbey shop, on Kingston Parade from now until April 2017. The work is to create new underground spaces and facilities which will help make the Abbey more welcoming and improve its service to the city.

The Abbey will remain open as usual during the Phase 1 work and, following discussions with local stakeholders and neighbours, some changes have been made to ensure as little disruption as possible to visitors, worshippers and neighbouring businesses and residents.  If you would like to know more about the Footprint Project, please visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint<http://www.bathabbey.org/footprint>, email:  footprint@bathabbey.orgor<mailto:footprint@bathabbey.orgor> follow @bathfootprint on Twitter.

About Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey is a flourishing Church of England parish church which technically serves a small city centre parish (Bath Abbey with St James). This parish has a small residential population and primarily consists of commercial properties; and most of the regular congregation and the 692 people on the electoral roll live in other parishes or come from outside the city of Bath. The Abbey holds daily services of morning or evening prayer or Holy Communion; and the standard pattern of Sunday worship is for five daily services attended on average by 630 people. Special services at Advent, Christmas and Easter are well attended; and many local organisations hold annual services in the Abbey. The Abbey has four choirs:  Men’s, Boys’ and Girls’ choirs support worship in services; whilst Melody Makers is a choir for younger children which performs in concerts in the Abbey once a term and at other events in and around Bath.

The Abbey runs a successful Schools Singing Programme, an outreach activity which supports singing within local schools and holds regular workshops and concerts in the Abbey. The Abbey welcomes approximately 400,000 visitors annually and is open daily all year round; many of these visitors being families and school parties. Apart from being a place of prayer, worship, weddings and funerals, the Abbey has an important role as a visitor destination, a performance space (for audiences anywhere between 10 and 1,000), a general civic space and an exhibition space. www.bathabbey.org<http://www.bathabbey.org>

About Bath Abbey’s Footprint

The £19.3 million Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating 200 sq metres of new facilities to fulfil the Abbey as a place of congregation, equal access and hospitality. A programme is also planned to record and interpret the Abbey’s 1,200 years of history and this iconic church for millions of visitors including educational visits. www.bathabbey.org/footprint<http://www.bathabbey.org/footprint>

The Emperor’s new clothes!

The Emperor’s new clothes!

Can’t blame a Roman emperor for trying to protect himself from the cold on a crisp and sunny winter morning with the temperature hovering around zero.

Though in the case of some of the emperors and governors of Provincia Britannia, who are represented in local stone around the edges of the Great Bath, the protection has been applied by conservators working to stabilise the condition of the statues.


All wrapped up against the cold. This is a statue that has been protected against frost after receiving some conservation work involving material that has to dry out naturally without getting frozen!

Many visitors to the Roman  Baths think these figures are the work of the same masons who carved the facade to the ancient Temple of Minerva – preserved here below ground – but these are actually adornments added to these newly-discovered excavated remains when they were opened to the Victorian public in 1897.


The array of Victorian statues surrounding the Great Bath.

The eight figures – in Bath stone – were the work of Scottish-born sculptor George Anderson Lawson – who also carved the friezes of classical figures at either end of the Guildhall.


The Guildhall

We’ve got  emperors Claudius, Hadrian, Constantine the Great, Vespasian and Julius Caesar. His statue though is a 1989 replacement by Laurence Tindall following a rare outbreak of vandalism which toppled the original.


Conservator, Douglas Carpenter at work.

We musn’t forget the three generals. Ostorius Sacula – defeater of Caractacus – Suetonius Paulinus – who put down Boudicca’s rebellion – and Agricola.

Every ten years or so conservators are called in to check on their condition and make necessary repairs.

Cracks can be filled, moss removed and lime washes added to provide a protective coat.

It’s skilled work  as conservator Douglas Carpenter – from Kilmersdon-based  Cliveden Conservation Workshop – explained.