Adding autumn colour

Helping to brighten up the autumn gloom is an exhibition of fine art ceramics by Jan Byrne and paintings by Mark Thomas running through from November 19th to December 1st at Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution – based in Queen Square.

Jan Byrne’s work is mainly ceramic with many layers of decoration. Her pieces of fine art tell stories or represent thoughts, feelings or ideas that are personal to her or that are part of our collective experience.

Mark Thomas creates contemporary paintings in acrylics on paper or canvas.  His artworks are a mix of figurative and abstract with a retro propaganda / Pop Art influence.

‘Learning Curves” is open daily from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4pm. Entry is free.

There is also a FREE talk by the artists on Tuesday, November 22nd from 3 to 4 pm.

We’ve got more colour in store at the American Museum from December 1st with the launch of their Enchanted Garden of Light but, in the meantime, the museum’s Chief Curator Kate Herbert and Collections and Public Engagement Director Jan English are preparing to come down from Claverton Manor to give a talk on American Folk Art at BRLSI on Monday, November 21st from 7.30 to 9m.

I can give you a summary of some of what is in store!

What is Folk Art – how do we define it?

A brief history of Folk Art – its importance and the collection here at the American Museum and Gardens – how was it acquired and why

Highlights of key pieces of the museum’s collections featuring artists such as:

Joshua Johnson considered to be the first significant African American artist. He worked in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1796 to 1824. It is not known whether he received formal training as an artist. Most of his sitters were white abolitionists, with only two of the 80 paintings attributed to Johnson featuring African American sitters.

This star piece of our collection is believed to be a portrait of Daniel Coker (1780–1846), an African American writer, activist and a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

Wilhelm Schimmel an itinerant carver who travelled throughout Cumberland County in Pennsylvania. He is particularly well known for his eagle sculptures, which have a distinctive style. The surface of his carvings are covered with incised lines creating cross-hatching all over the surface.

Frederick Myrick was one of the most illustrious of the early scrimshanders, who sailed on the maiden voyage of the Susan of Nantucket. He etched over 30 sperm whale teeth with depictions of the Susan. This tooth was discovered by museum founder, John Judkyn, in an antique shop in Bath.

Redwork Quilt Top – This fun quilt top is covered with fun embroidered pictures that offer an insight into life in the C19th. Domestic scenes sit alongside scenes of a military or patriotic nature, hinting at the Civil War still present in people’s memories. 

For more information and to book tickets go to 

BRLSI members £2.00 non-members £5.00 for the talk on Folk Art

Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution 01225 312084  

or contact Jane Walters, Arts Convenor