Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Almost time for Americans everywhere to say ‘Hooray for the red, white and blue’ as July 4th and Independence Day gets ever closer.

1 The American Museum in Britain

The American Museum at Claverton Down.

Bath’s American Museum – at Claverton Manor – is making sure it is in the thick of it with celebrations – for all its visitors to enjoy – spanning out over two weekends.Independence Day Weekend part 1, American Museum in Britain

The first weekend of celebrations  (June 30 and July 1) will transport you right back to 1776 in the guise of a living history weekend, and the welcome return of the Crown Forces Association and the Society of King George the Third.

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Marvel at the redcoats and revolutionaries as they display military might (including loud bangs) and civilian comforts of the late 18th century in America. Normal admission applies.

Then it’s on to the big day itself. Visit during the day on Wednesday 4th July between 10am and 5pm and you’ll get free entry!

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In the evening there will be music from two performers: The Danberry’s and Sarah McQuaid. Tickets, and how to book can be found here: https://americanmuseum.org/events/fourth-july-folk/

To round off the celebrations the American Museum will have a weekend (7 – 8 July) of razz-a-mataz including, music, BBQ, fun and American games. Normal admission applies.

Independence Day weekend part 2, American Museum in Britain

Jon Ducker, Head of Visitor Experience, said ‘As the only museum outside of the US dedicated to celebrating American culture, we can’t wait to celebrate the birth of the nation. We have three fab red, white and blue events lined up to give you ample opportunity to wear your best stars and shiniest stripes.

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You can also immerse yourself in our fab folk art collection, quilts to die for and look at back at the first great test of the US/UK relationship as we uncover America’s involvement in World War I.’

Biography in Cloth

Biography in Cloth

In Milsom Place this morning for breakfast at Cote Brasserie and noticed banner flags fluttering outside an empty shop unit.

Turns out l have stumbled upon one of the locations featuring exhibitions as part of this year’s Fringe Arts Bath festival which has just launched.

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As we walked in to ‘Biography in Cloth’ which features work by Carole Waller and Joanna Wright l was told we were officially the first visitors.

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If you are passing that way do go and have a look. The space may or may not have been some form of ballroom attached to one side of the old Octagon Chapel.

One of the most fashionable and elegant of Bath’s private religious spaces it was built with funds raised by subscription and opened in 1767.

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Former exhibition inside the Octagon – before it became a restaurant.

It even had central heating of a sort with two fireplaces to warm those filling its gallery and ground floor seats.

But back to the adjoining room which now makes an incredible setting for this thought-provoking exhibition.

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The artists are asking whether cloth retains the resonance of a person when not being worn.

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“Can we connect to people and locations through cloth? How does cloth interact with our presence or absence? Is it our second skin?”

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Something for you to mull over when you are walking around the room.

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FAB venues are open from 10 am to 6pm from May 26th through to June 10th.

Check out the website on www.fringeartsbath.co.uk

 

Colour sensation

Colour sensation

Bath’s parks are at that changeover stage. The last of the spring flowering is fading and it will soon be time to put in the colourful summer beds.

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Bath’s Parade Gardens.

While you’re waiting to appreciate that riot of floral hues l suggest popping into Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.P1170460 2

In fact – if the sky is grey overhead ( or even if it isn’t) – get yourself into the ground floor gallery for a sunshine fix.

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As someone who lived through the Psychedelic Sixties, and glorious riots of colour in the cinema like the Beatle’s ‘Yellow Submarine’ and Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia’ – l had the shock of my life.

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Preview night for ” A Celebration of Flowers” with American artists Kaffe Fassett and Candace Bahout was like wading through the bold and intense end of a  pack of Dulux colour cards.

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Don’t be tempted to hide behind your sunglasses either as you will miss a treat – though one that might take a while getting accustomed to!

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The exhibition features some of Kaffe’s exquisite needlework and patchwork quilts –  set against colourful mosaic island gardens, exuberant mirror frames, totem cup poles and jewelled shoes by Candace Bahouth – who is based in Somerset.

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Some of Candace Bahouth’s amazing mosaic encrusted shoes.

Kaffe is an internationally renowned colour expert and fabric designer who is making a welcome return to Bath. He has been associated with the city since the 1960s when he moved to England from San Francisco. He certainly brought ‘flower power’ with him.

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It’s a spellbinding colour scheme – set off by a bit of interior redecorating by the Victoria Art Gallery team. Something Kaffe appreciated.

 

The exhibition – which runs until September – was officially opened by broadcaster Keven McCloud. He had quite an audience too.

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City of Bath Mayor-Elect, Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones in conversation with the Head of Heritage Services, Stephen Bird.

Amongst those invited was the founder of the British pop art movement Sir Peter Blake – still seen from time to time in his old full-time home at Wellow. Where would that Sgt Pepper’s cover be without him!

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King Edward School art teacher Darren Willison in conversation with Sir Peter Blake.

Talking of pop – legendary founder of the Glastonbury Festival Michael Eavis looked very much at home too!

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Michael Eavis -The man who put the Glastonbury Festival on the map.

But back to Kevin McCloud. Forgive sound quality.

A lot of the work on show IS most definitely for sale too!

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L to R Deputy Mayoress of Bath, Amanda Appleyard; the Deputy Mayor of Bath, Cllr Rob Appleyard; Kevin McCloud and the new Chair of B&NES, Cllr Karen Walker.

The show also celebrates Kaffe’s recent book on the floral world called Bold Blooms. It is also on sale at the Victoria Gallery.

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The exhibition is open from today – Saturday, May 19. Tickets are available at £12/£11 concessions from the Victoria Gallery or Bath Box Office. Discovery cardholders get in for free.

‘Flaming’ June at the Roman Baths.

‘Flaming’ June at the Roman Baths.

It’s guaranteed to be ‘flaming’ June at Bath’s premier tourist attraction. That’s the month which sees the Roman Baths extend its hours. It will stay open until 10pm every evening this summer, with a torch-lit offering for visitors a chance to soak up the special atmosphere around the Great Bath.

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Torches light up the Great Bath.

Torchlit Summer Evenings will run from 16 June to 31 August with the last admission at 9pm.

The historic site takes on a magical atmosphere once the daylight fades and the flickering torches are lit. Visitors can walk around the Great Bath where people bathed nearly 2,000 years ago, see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva where Roman worshippers gathered, and wander around the Roman Baths museum. Evening visitors will also benefit from reduced ticket prices after 5pm.

Last year, the series of late nights was extended by two weeks and attracted a record number of visitors, with 55,203 people visiting in the evening, up from approximately 40,000 in 2016 and 33,000 in 2015.

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The Roman Baths at night.

Comments in the visitor book included:

  • Very romantic by torchlight and so much inspiring history. Brilliant, just brilliant.
  • Sunday evening, fabulous! Not too crowded, atmospheric and great tour guide.
  • Baths look beautiful at night and a fabulous tour.

     

Admission to the Roman Baths is free for Bath and North East Somerset residents with a Discovery Card, and last summer 1,171 people used their Discovery Cards to visit in the evening.

Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “Torchlit Summer Evenings are a wonderful opportunity to explore the Roman Baths by torchlight after the daytime crowds have gone. I hope that lots of residents will use their Discovery Cards again this year to experience an evening at the Roman Baths for free.”

The Pump Room restaurant will be open late for dinner and drinks, with live music every evening. Last orders 9pm. Please call 01225 444477 or email events.bath@searcys.co.uk to book. The Roman Baths Kitchen offers a more informal setting with alfresco dining. Reservations can be made on 01225 477877 or email rbk@searcys.co.uk.

The Roman Baths shop will stay open every day until 9.45pm.

Visitors can combine a visit to the Roman Baths with a breakfast, lunch or dinner package or a trip to nearby Thermae Bath Spa, where they can bathe overlooking the twinkling lights of the city as the sun goes down.

The following packages are available:

Sunrise Breakfast and Tour

Enjoy breakfast (with coffee and orange juice) from the Sunrise Breakfast menu at the Roman Baths Kitchen between 9am and 11am and then visit the Roman Baths. £28.50 per person

The Roman Baths Tour and Lunch

Choose a two-course lunch from the set lunch menu at the Roman Baths Kitchen between 12pm and 3pm and explore the Roman Baths. £31.50 per person

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The Great Bath – part of the Roman bathing complex built around the thermal waters.

Torchlit Visit and Dinner

Visit the Roman Baths and enjoy a three-course evening meal at the Roman Baths Kitchen. £44 (excluding wine)

From Romans to Georgians

Experience a visit to the Roman Baths followed by an evening meal in the Georgian splendour of the Pump Room restaurant. Includes a drink while enjoying the Roman Baths, a glass of famous spa water and an indulgent four-course dinner with live music. £50 (excluding wine)

Spas Ancient and Modern

Combine a visit to the Roman Baths, including a Champagne Tea or three-course lunch at the Pump Room restaurant, with an evening at Thermae Bath Spa. Spa treatments can be booked as an optional extra. £84.50

All packages can be booked through Visit Bath on 01225 614 420 or https://visitbath.digitickets.co.uk/tickets.

www.romanbaths.co.uk

Putting on the positive.

Putting on the positive.

The Bath-based Museum of East Asian Art is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a contemporary exhibition about ‘wellness’ at a time when it could do with a little ‘healing’ itself.

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This little gem of a museum is still mourning the theft of a few ‘jewels’ from its own collection ‘crown’ after a mid-night burglary both robbed and wrecked one of its galleries.Screen Shot 2018-05-05 at 06.59.16

Today –  Saturday, May 5th – the museum’s doors defiantly open on a new season and a follow-through exhibition which explores our quest for mental and physical reassurance.

 

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Zhang Yanzi

 

It’s by Beijing-based artist Zhang Yanzi who – according to the exhibition brochure: ‘explores our common frailties and shared humanity, investigating the nature and meaning of wellness in China, its history, and it’s modern counterpoints from a Chinese perspective.

We invite visitors to be open to a breadth of approaches to wellness and to experience psychological refreshment.’

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Ties in nicely with the history of our own city here in the West doesn’t it? Bath’s ‘healing waters’ heritage that stretches back to Roman times.

The centrepiece of Zhang Yanzi’s show is a silk robe covered in capsules which ponders the question ‘do these pills ‘cloak’ us with a feeling of reassurance and calm?’

 

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The robe of pills centrepiece!

 

‘A Quest for Wellness’ has been curated by Nicole Chiang who explained what is now on view.

 

A Quest for Wellness – Contemporary Chinese Art by Zhang Yanzi – runs until November 12th.

Please check out the museum’s website for more information via https://meaa.org.uk

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It also contains details of its appeal to raise money to help refit the gallery – badly damaged in the burglary – and also illustrations of the items stolen.

 

American Museum – main house reopens

American Museum – main house reopens

Claverton Manor – at the American Museum in Britain – is due to reopen for the season next Saturday.

1 The American Museum in Britain

The American Museum at Claverton Down.

The seasonal relaunch was delayed by a water leak in March of this year, but –  after subsequent assessment by specialists – a spokesperson told Bath Newseum: ‘We’re pleased to let you know that we’re now in a position to re-open the manor house and the permanent collection from Saturday, 5th May.

We do still need to undertake some work in the affected rooms, however, so a few areas will unfortunately still not be accessible to visitors.

Sadly, we’re currently unable to re-open Conkey’s Tavern, Greek Revival, and the New Orleans Bedroom, because further essential repair and maintenance work needs to be undertaken in these spaces.

There is also some disruption to the usual display in the Lee Room, but visitors will be able to see at first-hand the work our team has undertaken to protect and care for the unique objects in the collection affected by the leak.

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Living history with an WW1 solider to talk to!

We’d like to thank you again for your patience whilst the permanent collection was closed and also during the transformational work underway in our Gardens.
In addition to the permanent collection, visitors can still experience our WWI centenary exhibition, Side by Side: America and World War I which commemorates a hundred years since America’s first major military land involvement in the Great War.

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They can also see the 1718 patchwork coverlet, which is on loan to us from the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, until the end of July.

With an exciting year of events and activities still ahead, plus the launch of the New American Garden, we look forward to welcoming you to the Museum soon.’

 

Polluted paradise.

Polluted paradise.

Popped into the BRLSI-  amongst other things, for me the city’s unofficial ‘Museum of Bath’ – yesterday to catch Collection’s Manager Matt Williams and Graphic designer Jude Harris busy setting up the summer exhibition which opens today (Saturday, April 21st).

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Collections Manager, Matt Williams with some of the vivid photographs within the exhibition which illustrate environmental damage to the Pacific Ocean.

The Institution is inviting the public to come in and explore four different themes concerning the Pacific Ocean – a sea so vast that ALL the Earth’s landmasses would fit into its basin.

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‘Bleached’ coral reefs where environmental issues are upsetting the ecosystems that operate beneath the waves.

There is no charge so come and explore the material culture of the indigenous island peoples of the Pacific – including war clubs, drums, jewellery and beaded clothing.

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Beads and gourds – Pacific culture on display.

The exhibition also examines the diversity of marine life which is shown by some of the beautiful shells donated by 19th-century naturalist collectors.

You can learn about the history and significance of the Wallace Line, an invisible boundary (named after 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Wallace) which separates the distinctive ecozones of Asia and Australasia – with tigers, barbets and woodpeckers on one side, for example, and marsupials, honeyeaters and cockatoos on the other.

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Still in the process of setting up – but here’s a photo illustrating how some islands will be submerged by rising sea levels.

For me, the themes that really hit home are the damage – we the human race are doing -with the ocean under threat as pollution and climate-change impacts on Pacific ecosystems and communities.

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Rising sea levels threaten to swamp whole islands and plastic – floating on the ocean surface – is being mistaken for food and fed to bird chicks!

The exhibition is illustrated by prints from four renowned international photo-journalists – Chris Jordan, Ciril Jazbec, Jonas Gratzer and Remi Chauvin – highlighting the impact of environmental change on the wildlife and peoples of the Pacific.

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Pacific – Ocean of Islands‘ runs until September 22nd. It is free to enter and the ground floor gallery is open from 10 am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. You will find the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square.