The Roman Baths and Victoria Art Gallery celebrated yesterday’s International Women’s Day with the release of two new additions to their latest YouTube video series, focusing on Roman women and female artists.
Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We’re pleased to be releasing the latest instalments to these fascinating series on International Women’s Day. It’s wonderful to learn more about the lives of women in Roman Bath, and give a voice to female artists whose work features in the Victoria Art Gallery collection.”
The new Roman Women series from the Roman Baths is a four-part YouTube series. In each film, Roman Baths Manager Amanda Hart examines the lives of women living in Bath (Aquae Sulis) 2,000 years ago.
Using the Roman Baths’ world-famous curse tablets, human remains and – in the latest film – tombstone inscriptions, she discusses how the lives of Roman women may have been different to what traditional scholarship has thought. She finds evidence of a woman as the head of a household and a possible same-sex relationship, and talks about the life of a freed slave who was originally bought at market to be married to a priest.
Amanda Hart said: “It has been fascinating uncovering the stories of these women who lived 2,000 years ago. While we can never know for certain every detail of their lives, the evidence is there to give them a voice, which we hope this film series achieves.”
The Victoria Art Gallery marked International Women’s Day with the release of the second film in its YouTube series on women artists. All of the women artists featured in this series have works in the care of the Victoria Art Gallery.
The latest film, released today, examines Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), who was one of the most famous and successful female artists of the 19th century. Katharine Wall, Collections Manager, talks about the life and works of this French artist who specialised in painting animals, looking Bonheur’s sketch of animal heads and discussing the level of detail that the artist applied to her work. A ground-breaking artist, Bonheur was known to visit the abattoirs of Paris to study animal anatomy. She also attended animal fairs to sketch, and received special permission from the French authorities to wear trousers at these occasions.
Nathalie Levi, Senior Curator at the Victoria Art Gallery, said: “The story of women in art is continually being evaluated and rediscovered. We are excited to be releasing a new 10-part series on women artists and giving a voice to lesser-known painters such as Anna Bilińska and Emmeline Deane, exploring the fascinating story of Georgian artist Sarah Biffen, while also discussing more familiar names such as the abstract artist Gillian Ayres.”