Record breaking show.

Record breaking show.

Bath Society of Artist’s  112th annual exhibition has opened at the Victoria Art Gallery with a record number of pieces of work on display.


It’s always a colourful display of local talent and attracts entries of all ages.


Bath Newseum caught up with Society Chairman, Susanna Lisle,  for a quick chat in a crowded, and very noisy, gallery!

The exhibition opens from today – Saturday, May 20th, through to Saturday, July 15th. The gallery is open from Monday to Sunday from 10.30 am to 5 pm. Admission is £4 but there are concessions. It is free to the under 21’s and to holders of local resident’s Discovery cards.


Entry to the permanent collection at the Victoria Art Gallery is also free.



Bath and the Workhouse exhibition.

Bath and the Workhouse exhibition.

A rare plaster bust of the first Chairman of the Bath Poor Law Guardians, who oversaw the Bath Workhouse is to be shown as part of the ‘Poor Man’s Friend?: Bath and the Workhouse 1836-2016’ exhibition which will open at the Museum on Thursday May 18th. The exhibition will run until September 2017.


The picture shows volunteers Moira Eades, Barbara Sheppard, researcher John Payne and Chairman of the Friends of the Museum of Bath at Work Euel Lane.

This major exhibition, which reveals how provision for the poorest was arranged from the 1830s onwards at the site on Midford Road which later became St Martin’s Hospital. The exhibition has been researched by local historian John Payne in collaboration with Museum Director Stuart Burroughs and Lecturer Richard White. In addition to displays on the workhouse a programme of walks has been arranged by Richard White and the exhibition will include artworks by Lorna Bernstein and a large bell, which hung above the chapel at the Bath Workhouse and has been kindly lent by the National Health Service.


Stuart Burroughs – Director of The Museum of Bath at Work.

Director Stuart Burroughs said ‘I was born at St Martin’s Hospital, as it was then, so you might say I was brought up in the Workhouse but this timely exhibition shows how assistance and support was provided for the poorest from the 1830s and how our attitudes towards the poor have evolved over the years. The Workhouse bell is a particular favourite although we needed to buy a small hand crane to move it into position!

Reverend Spencer, who had been curate at St John’s Church, Hinton Charterhouse became Chairman of the Guardians when the Workhouse opened in 1836 and after some years became Chairman of the Temperance Society and moved to London. The bust has been kindly lent by St John’s Church and we are grateful to the Churchwarden Elisabeth Wordsworth for the loan.

Historic railway waggon unveiled at Museum of Bath @ Work

Historic railway waggon unveiled at Museum of Bath @ Work


An historic railway waggon – found beneath Bath Spa Railway Station – has gone on show at the Museum of Bath at Work in Julian Road.

It has been designated as a nationally significant part of our railway heritage on the advice of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board, which advises Government.


The restored railway waggon now on display.

Made by German firm Orenstein & Koppel, the waggon was discovered in a dilapidated state by Network Rail during the renovation of the station vaults, in what is now the Brunel Square development.

brunel square

The construction of Brunel Square.

Network Rail paid for its conservation and donated it to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s local history collection for long term care. The Council has now lent it to the Museum of Bath at Work as this is the most appropriate location in the city to display it for the public.


Museum of Bath at Work.

The waggon, which is the only surviving example of its kind, was used at Bath Electricity Generating Works, where coal was moved from the Great Western Railway station at Bath to the boilers of the electricity works below. A set of wagons running on a private rail system supplied the coal and removed the ash and clinker from the works. 

Stephen Clews, Roman Baths and Pump Room Manager, said: “We’re delighted that this historic waggon, with its interesting links to Bath’s industrial past, will be displayed at the Museum of Bath at Work, where it can be seen by both local residents and visitors.”

Trevor Turpin, Chairman of the Museum of Bath at Work, said: “This waggon served the first electric power plant in Bath, which brought electric lighting to the streets and to domestic homes just over a hundred years ago. It is a unique object that helps us tell the story of how electricity transformed the city.”


You’ve been framed!

You’ve been framed!

Calling all local artists. Time to consider a submission for the Bath Society of Artists annual exhibition will open at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery on Saturday 20 May.

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Now in its 112th year, this hugely popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. Any artist aged 18 or over can submit work for possible selection.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown) Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Bath Society of Artists exhibition is a highlight of Bath’s artistic calendar, showcasing paintings, drawings and sculptures by talented artists from across the region. Admission is free for local residents with a Discovery Card, and visitors can vote for their favourite artwork to win the People’s Choice Prize.”

victoria gallery

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

Susanna Lisle, Chairman of Bath Society of Artists, said: “The Bath Society of Artists Annual Open Exhibition gives an opportunity to artists of all ages and disciplines to show their work alongside members of the Society. We are pleased to say that well over half the work accepted for the exhibition is by non-members, making for a very rich and varied show.

“Each year we invite well-known figures in the contemporary art world to be our judges for the extensive range of prizes. This year our judges are Anthony Hepworth, Mark Surridge and Jo Taylor. We also invite a well-known artist to show with us and this year it will be sculptor Michael Pennie.”

The Society was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of about 120 diverse, talented artists. Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Gilbert Spencer, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden, William Scott and Howard Hodgkin.

The annual exhibition, which is open to non-members, attracts more than 1,000 entries and 13,000 visitors. All the artworks are for sale, and sales have doubled in recent years 

The prizes on offer total more than £3,000, and include the Bath Society of Artists Prize of £1,000, the Bristol Guild Prize of £250 for a 3-D work, and the Harry Walker RWA Young Artist Prize of £250, awarded to artists aged 18 to 25. There are also smaller prizes for prints, watercolours, small paintings and drawings.

victoria art gallery

The Rotunda at the top of the staircase in the Victoria Art Gallery.

During the exhibition, members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork, with the winner of the Bath Society of Artists Public Choice Prize receiving £500 

To enter, artists must submit their work at the Victoria Art Gallery on Saturday 13 May between 10am and 3.30pm. Exhibits may be paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints or mixed media. Digital prints and collaborative artworks can be submitted. No photography or Giclée reproductions will be accepted.

For more details and an application form visit Application forms are also available from the Gallery.



From newspaper to gallery wall.

From newspaper to gallery wall.

Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery has just launched an exhibition with a real difference.

Hanging on its walls are the photographs we have lived with over the years  – as we turn the pages of a newspaper or watch the evening news.


Tiananmen Square, 1989.

Taken away from the print – and framed on a gallery wall – here are images – stark, uncomfortable, shocking and thought-provoking – that record man’s inhumanity to man. Each one a moment of frozen time – and many of events that changed history.

This is photo-journalism at its best. A collection of over 75 prints taking us through almost one hundred years of world events.


Libya in flames.

For me – it was a chance to relive moments of events l remember as part of my life experience.

Things like Lee Harvey Oswold’s assassination, Don McCullin’s powerful shell-shocked Vietnam soldier,  the terrible tragedy of 9/11, burning oil-wells in the Iraqi desert and the collected faces of desperate boat people.


The assassination of Lee Harvey Oswold – the man arrested after the murder of President John F Kennedy.

It is a must-see.

The collection is owned by The Incite Project. Photographer Harriet Logan and curator Tristan Lund have assembled one of the largest private collections of news and documentary photographs in the UK.


One of the most graphic images of 9/11

This show focuses on iconic images and their power, profiling images that have changed public perception of world events. They have been selected from a collection that specialises in photojournalism and documentary photography.

We are used to seeing these images in the press, in transient form, generally accompanied by columns of text, but the Incite Project treats them as works of art.


The core of the collection are the classics of 20th-century photojournalism that have become visual markers of a moment in time.

The collection is also motivated by a passion to support the photographers and artists currently making extraordinary, thought-provoking images about contemporary issues.


Bath’s Mayor, Cllr Paul Crossley in conversation with acclaimed international photographer Don McCullin. Many of his amazing images are on display here.

Bath Newseum was able to speak to Tristan Lund – who is collection curator of the  Incite Project  – at last night’s preview.

Please be warned that this exhibition contains images of conflict which some visitors may find disturbing.

The exhibition runs until May 10th. £4.00 / concs. / under 21s and Discovery Card holders free. More information via

The Chinese painter making oil and water mix!

The Chinese painter making oil and water mix!

Bath’s blessed with a variety of museums  – covering all manner of subjects from locally made cars to classical architecture – but there’s one rather special one – just around the corner from The Circus  – which can claim to be the only UK museum solely dedicated to the arts and cultures of East and South East Asia.


The entrance to the Museum of East Asian Art.

It’s currently hosting a small selection of paintings from a European touring exhibition featuring Chinese artist Hong Ling. Now in his 60’s this is a painter who mixes traditional Chinese ink paintings with the oils of our Western artistic culture.


The exhibition poster displayed outside the museum.

The exhibition begins with early works from the late 1980s when Hong Ling completed his graduate training in western oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing (CAFA).


Artist Hong Ling photographed at work.

In the 1990s, his work was richly informed by his extensive travels across China, Asia, and many remote parts of the world.  During this time, Hong Ling also started setting up his studio residence in the region of Mount Huangshan, a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Anhui Province in eastern China.


Part of the Hong Ling-Selected display.

Since then, he has focussed exclusively on landscape painting, encapsulating the traditions of Chinese aesthetic philosophies with western painting medium.


There’s a book on the artist and his work for sale at the museum.

Working in parallel studios in Huangshan and Beijing, devoted to both oil and ink painting, Hong Ling’s works tell the story of one artist’s embrace of the natural world, his personal development, and his versatile creativity.

Bath Newseum went along to  a preview evening to speak to curator Nicole Chiang.

Hong Ling – Selected is running at the Museum of East Asian Art through to July 2nd. Find out more via

Your place on the Bath map!

Your place on the Bath map!

Got a wonderful black and white photograph of your great grandmother standing in a car-free street in downtown Twerton or a shot – you found in a car boot sale – of people boarding a steam train at Bath Spa Station?

While you may treasure such images in an album you keep at home, now comes the chance to share it with the world in a wonderful new facility that gives you the opportunity of stamping your own community identity onto an on-line facility that records the changing face of places like Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire.


The Know Your Place website.

Go on line via   and you will pick up the following information about an Heritage Lottery Funded project you can really get involved in.

‘Know Your Place is a digital heritage mapping project to help you to explore your neighbourhood online through historic maps, collections and linked information.


The website allows you to access maps of Bath and district spanning several centuries.

Know Your Place – West of England covers Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the former Avon area. It will provide unprecedented online access to historical maps, onto which users can add information about their local area, building a rich and diverse community map of local heritage for everyone.

The project runs until June 2017 and will provide comprehensive cover of the modern counties of South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and Somerset.


A screen grab from Know Your Place showing an old map of Bath and each green spot opens to reveal pictures of that particular place at a particular time in history.

The project has been awarded £379,800 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, with generous match-funding and in-kind support from local authorities and heritage groups in the region, including £5,000 match-funding from the lead partner, South Gloucestershire Council.’


Local historian Andrew Hill who has been setting up the B&NES part of the on-line website ‘Know Your Place.’

Here in Bath, local writer and historian Andrew Hill has been busy uploading images on to the site from the vast archives of the Museum of Bath at Work.


Stuart Burroughs – Director of The Museum of Bath at Work.

It’s where l met him to find out more about his efforts – and how the people of Bath and North East Somerset can get involved.

A chance also to chat to Stuart Burroughs who is the Director of the Museum of Bath at Work.

Forgive the shaky camerawork but – with space at a premium in the museum archive – the camera is being hand-held!

The website address that will bring you straight to the B&NES section is

Andrew Hill is also the author of a book that takes an in-depth look at Bath’s retail history by exploring  the rise and fall of one of its most famous commercial enterprises Cater, Stoffell and Fortt.


‘Biscuits, Banquets and Bollinger’ – by Andrew Hill.

The Museum of Bath at Work’s website is