On the trail of a dragon!

On the trail of a dragon!


Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery, which is run by Bath & North East Somerset Council, is launching a new family trail around the city this summer, to coincide with the Here Be Dragons exhibition (22 July-8 October 2017).

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Eight virtual dragon eggs will be hidden in Bath city centre, each designed in the style of a children’s illustrator, including Axel Scheffler, Russell Ayto and Quentin Blake.

Families can begin hunting by downloading the free ‘Where Be Dragons?’ app from iTunes or Google Play. They can follow the compass in the app to find eight posters around Bath, each featuring the work of a children’s illustrator. When pointing your device at the poster a virtual egg will appear and be added to your collection.

On the shell of each egg is a gold letter. Find them all and complete the anagram to complete the challenge.

All players who manage to complete the trail and solve the anagram can enter a prize draw to win one of three goody bags containing signed books, toys, games and tickets. Entrants must be over 14 years old.

Everyone who takes part will also be able to collect a free bookmark from the Victoria Art Gallery (subject to availability, during opening hours).

The eggs are all close to the city centre, and the trail will take about one hour. A short video demonstration for the app is available by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onGe34wpIak

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Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield) Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “This is an exciting exhibition and trail for families to take part in over the summer. Dragons are really popular fictional characters and I am sure this exhibition and trail will attract local residents and visitors alike.”

Here Be Dragons will take over Victoria Art Gallery from Saturday 22 July until Sunday 8 October 2017. Visitors to this awe-inspiring exhibition can expect to encounter a veritable dragon’s den – in two and three dimensions – crammed with creatures that have leapt out of their favourite books.

The show will mine a rich seam of dragon lore, with images by some of the world’s best children’s illustrators, including Chris Riddell (Ottaline and Goth Girl), Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo), Quentin Blake and Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon). There will be more than 70 pieces on show, with something for visitors of all ages, from ‘touch and feel’ art for babies to scary, fire-breathing dragons for older fans.

Exciting dragon events, workshops and storytelling sessions will take place at the gallery, including an opening celebration where children can help create a Lego mosaic of Cressida Cowell’s Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus, which will be displayed in the show. Copies of famous dragon tales will be available to browse in the story corner and purchase in the gallery shop.

The exhibition is guest curated by John and Gill McLay, founders of Bath Children’s Literature Festival. Gill McLay said: “In everything we do, we try to bring together art, story and entertainment and the exhibition will do just that. A true celebration of the illustrator, we hope this family-focused exhibition will bring families together in their love of dragons and the world of imagination. We’re hugely excited to be working with the team at the Victoria Art Gallery and grateful for the opportunity to share some breathtaking artwork with children of all ages.”

www.victoriagal.org.uk/dragons ­­

Family events

Lego workshop
Saturday 22 July, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Celebrate the opening of the exhibition by taking part in our Lego public build mosaic. Children will jointly build an artwork to go in the show – Cressida Cowell’s very own Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus.

Face of the dragon
Wednesday 26 July, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 3 to 7 years old

Create a colourful dragon mask

Dragon modelling
Friday 28 July, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 6 to 11 years old

Create a dragon using pipe cleaners and foam

Dragon printing
Wednesday 2 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 3 to 7 years

Create dragons using a clever printing technique

Dragon allsorts
Friday 4 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 6 to 11 years

Draw and paint a dragon

Snapping dragons
Wednesday 9 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 3 to 7 years

Make a dragon model

Dragon’s first breath
Friday 11 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 6 to 11 years

Create a paper craft dragon’s egg

Head of the dragon
Wednesday 16 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 3 to 7 years

Create a dragon headdress

Dragon puppets
Friday 18 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 6 to 11 years

Use a folding technique to create dragon puppets

Enchanted castle
Wednesday 23 August, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 1.30pm – 3.30pm
Ages 3 to 11 years

Be a princess or knight battling a dragon

Included in admission price, no need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Crystal gazing

Crystal gazing

Takes an exhibition like ‘Riches of the Earth: The Beauty of Minerals’ to remind me what a gem of a collection is housed at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square.


This is a ‘free-bee’ and you are welcome – during open hours – to pop in off the street and admire the beauty of minerals through the astounding forms and vibrant colours of more than a hundred carefully selected specimens.


The marvellous colours and forms of these natural wonders delight the viewer: glacial blue-green beryl, rainbow-hued opal, fiery red heulandite, lurid yellow sulphur, along with hexagonal prisms of aragonite, eccentrically fused cubes of fluorite and needle-like crystals of Goethite.


One group of specimens demonstrate their curious ability to glow in strange colours under UV light, while others have been chosen for their ornate patterns exposed in cross section.


The Institution’s collection of more than 2300 mineral specimens was built up during the 18th and 19th centuries, through the donations of many collectors.


It includes beautiful rarities from many different countries, and this is a unique opportunity to see them on display in Bath.


‘Riches of the Earth: the Beauty of Minerals’ is open  Monday to Saturday 10:00-16.00, until 30th September, and is a free exhibition.

A view of the Crescent

A view of the Crescent

Would Bath’s iconic Royal Crescent have made a good Council House? Can you still see the spot where a wartime bomb made a big crater on its lawn?  Or appreciate why one local painter calls its grassy front garden Bath’s beach?


Detail from Peter Brown’s 20-16 study of the Crescent lawn entitled ‘The Beach.’

Just some of the questions that may come to mind if you go and see ‘Exhibition: A View of the Crescent – Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Bath’s Landmark Building’ which opens at No 1 Royal Crescent on Saturday, June 25th until November 19th.


illustrations showing how the Royal Crescent could have been transformed into Council Offices.

It explores what the Royal Crescent means to people who enjoy, admire and respond to the beauty of its setting, and how prominent artists have portrayed this famous building over the years through paintings, prints, photographs and textiles.


Philip Bouchard’s painting of the Royal Crescent.

To stage it, Bath Preservation Trust has delved into its own archives – and that of Bath Record Office – as well as involving the Victoria Art Gallery and many well-known locally-based artists.

As one of its organisers, Beatrice Goddard, explains:

At No. 1 Royal Crescent from 24 June to 19 November.

Free with normal admission to the museum: Adult £10, Child £4, Family £22. Concessions.



The threads of life.

The threads of life.

How do you follow your most successful exhibition in years? Why – with something completely different of course.

Bath’s Holburne Museum recently wowed visitors with a display of Flemish talent which brought together a variety of work across the whole Bruegel family dynasty – for the first time in this country.


Now be prepared to move away from the 16th century and come right up to date – but with an art form that would have graced the walls of Henry the Eight’s Hampton Court Palace.


We’re talking tapestry – a form of textile art – but not as we normally think about it. The new exhibition – Tapestry: Here and Now – makes it clear we are not talking about Baronial walls but an ambitious survey of contemporary tapestry from a range of international artists – engaging with political, aesthetic and personal issues of contemporary relevance. As Catrin Jones, the Museum’s Curator of Decorative Arts, explains.

The exhibition runs from Friday, June 23rd through to October 1st. I have had a sneak preview of the works on display and must say they are both colourful and provocative.


Saori Sakai, detail of ‘Let’s Pretend.’


They exhibit both vision and dedication and use an ancient skill – and its materials – to produce pictorial representations of contemporary issues – like war, the environment, identity and memory. Read them anyway you will. I am sure you will be impressed.

Tonje Bloom and Jolly Future, detail. copy

Tonje Hodahl Sorli, detail of ‘Bloom, And Jolly Future’.

What l found relevant is how their quite striking vibrancy gives us some idea of the original colours of more ancient works which – like memory itself – fades over the years.

Ironically, Henry the Eighth’s 28-foot long tapestry at Hampton Court has been ‘virtually restored’ using coloured light beams.

See:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/5131200/Henry-VIIIs-500-year-old-tapestry-gets-21st-century-makeover.html


Tapestry: Here & Now

The Holburne Museum

23 June – 1 October 2017

£10 | £9 concession | £5 Art Fund | Free to all Museum Members and under 16s

A touring exhibition from The National Centre for Craft & Design

The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB
Open daily, free admission 10am – 5pm (11am – 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays)
T: 01225 388569 | E: enquiries@holburne.org | www.holburne.org

Bath’s extra-special bedroom.

Bath’s extra-special bedroom.

A suite of furniture designed by the world-famous Glasgow-born architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh has returned ‘home’ to Bath 100 years after it first arrived in the city.


Part of the scaled down Bath bedroom now recreated at the Museum of Bath at Work.



A sketch made in 1917 – by Charles Rennie Mackintosh – of Sidney Horstmann’s proposed bedroom design.

Designed for the family home of Bath-based businessman and engineer Sidney Horstmann, the bedroom suite, which arrived in the city in 1917, has been recreated – in part – in the Museum of Bath at Work in an exhibition ‘ A Bedroom in Bath: C R Mackintosh and Sidney Horstmann’ that will run untilf October 2017.


Another view of the recreated Bath bedroom.

Onega photo

Sidney Horstmann’s former home on the Upper Bristol Road. This photograph was taken in 1975 when this was known as the Onega Garage and Lodge. © http://www.bathintime.co.uk

The bedroom suite was designed especially for Sidney Horstmann’s home on the Upper Bristol Road in 1917 and featured a unique decorative scheme of painted friezes around the walls.

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L to R Dr Trevor Turpin – Chairman of Directors at the Museum of Bath at Work and Tim Dunmore. Mr Dunmore is Sidney Horstmann’s grandson so he has direct memories of the room and the furniture. Quite how the fairly delicate furniture stood up to a junior Mr Dunmore prancing about on it is testament to Mackintosh furniture being stronger than it looks!


Bath Spa University senior lecturer – and former graphic artist – Paul Minott is tasked with recreating a frieze of coloured triangles. He has something like 500 to stencil on. A technique Charles Renne Mackintosh would have used in the original Bath bedroom.

The room has been recreated at the Museum of Bath at Work and allows, in a scaled – down space, for the furniture to be displayed with the decoration which has been copied from Mackintosh’s original drawings.


The bedroom at Onega Lodge.

The furniture is being borrowed from the Victoria and Albert Museum and the decoration completed with assistance from Bath Spa University.


L to R . The Cive Chairman of B&NES, Cllr Karen Walker and Dr Nigel Bamforth who is the Senior Furniture Conservator of the Victoria and Albert Museum. According to Stuart Burroughs – Curator of The Museum of Bath @ Work – ‘ Dr Bamforth had come to install the furniture and made a remark regarding something I hadn’t realised. That this is the first time a collection of furniture from the V & A has been displayed – outside the V & A – together and in a realistic context, that is to say the original decorative scheme. He seemed genuinely excited by the whole project which, given that we were a little nervous before he arrived, made everyone feel better’.

Bath Newseum called in – before the opening – to see Dr Trevor Turpin, Chairman of the Museum Board, who is curating the exhibition.

Just to remind you. The exhibition runs through to October. Check out www.bath-at-work.org.uk/ for more information.


Invited guests at the opening.

The exhibition is being sponsored by Horstmann Controls Ltd – who are now based in Bristol.


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.