It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

It’s all in the eye of the beholder.

I suppose –  be it a traditional portrait or landscape painting framed on the gallery wall – all realistic visual art is an illusion. Be it faces or places, it’s our brains who merge paint daubs and strokes into order as a recognisable image.

Perception is all about how we see things – how we make sense of it all.

Bath’s Holburne Museum heads towards the darker months of late autumn and winter with a striking and – in part – vibrantly colourful exhibition which is all about the tricks an artist can play on the viewer.


The new exhibition at the Holburne Museum

Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception comes to us from Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. It’s sharp, vibrant, informative and playful. Forget the gloom outside and  immerse yourself  in  galleries where the eyes play tricks.

To quote from the Holburne’s on-line webpage:

“This exhibition will explore one of the most exciting threads of art history of the past 150 years. Many artists from the Impressionists onwards were inspired by scientific colour theories, such as the pointillist work of Georges Seurat, where colours other than those actually painted on the canvas are generated in the eye of the viewer.


During the 20th century this interest in perception extended to creating a sense of movement and a variety of artists from the Vorticists to Josef Albers looked at using form, and often colour, to convey the sensation of movement.

This interest intensified in the 1950s and 1960s in what came to be known as ‘Op Art’ and ‘Kinetic Art’, exemplified by the work of artists such as Victor Vasarely, Bridget Riley, Jeffrey Steele and Peter Sedgley.

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Tom Boggis – Curator of Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception.

This art has had a bold legacy right up to the present, not only in the further development of some of these artists but also in the work of others including Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jim Lambie and Sara Moorhouse.”


No photography allowed in here!

It’s all there to view – and interact with – in an exhibition curated by Tom Boggis.

Bath Newseum went down for a chat with him but, because of copyright issues, that had to take place outside the exhibition’s closed doors.

The Holburne Museum’s website can be found at 

The exhibition runs from Friday, October 20th through to Sunday, January 21st next year.

Admission is £10/£9 concs/ Free to all Museum Members. Under 16s go FREE (Under 12s must be accompanied by an adult).

Free lunchtime World Heritage talks at the Guildhall

Free lunchtime World Heritage talks at the Guildhall


A series of free lunchtime talks will take place at the Guildhall, Bath, this November to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bath becoming a World Heritage Site.

Management professionals from Hadrian’s Wall, Stonehenge, the Tower of London, and Bath & North East Somerset Council will give 30-minute talks on how they are undertaking the conservation and promotion of their respective sites.

Councillor Paul Myers (Conservative Midsomer Norton Redfield), Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “Bath and North East Somerset has a well-deserved reputation as a centre of excellence for heritage management.

“We constantly monitor best practice elsewhere to maintain this and it is a pleasure to welcome these national experts to share their knowledge and experience with us.” Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 14.32.01

30 Years of World Heritage in Bath
Wednesday, November 1
Tony Crouch, City of Bath World Heritage Site Manager

World Heritage at Hadrian’s Wall

Wednesday, November 8
Humphrey Welfare, Chairman, Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site Partnership Board

World Heritage at Stonehenge
Wednesday, November 15
Sarah Simmonds, Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site Partnership Manager

World Heritage at the Tower of London

Wednesday, November 22
Natasha Downie, World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Tower of London

All talks run from 1.10pm until 1.45pm. Booking is not required, just turn up on the day.



Lights up at Bath’s new hotel.

Lights up at Bath’s new hotel.

Always nice to feel at one with the ‘in crowd’ isn’t it.

Such an occasion- attracting the bright ‘young’ things –  was the official launch of Bath’s new ‘kid’ on the commercially-accommodating block – The Apex City of Bath Hotel.


Guests gathering in the new conference suite for the start of the evening’s events.

A £50 million pound investment – on the corner of James Street West and Charles Street – and one that now boasts not only 177 bedrooms but the largest conference facilities so far offered in a city yet to fully tap this additional and lucrative market.


One of the table settings set up to show what the hotel can do.

We started the evening – with wine and canapes in hand – in the Lansdown Suite. It’s a conference room that can hold up to four hundred delegates – and an events space flexible enough to also host exhibitions, dinner-dances, receptions and weddings.


Don’t need to tell you who this is!

Whilst admiring our hi-tech surroundings we listened to David James – CEO of Bath Tourism Plus – remind us that Bath attracted more visitors each year than Bristol and Manchester combined.


Another personality l don’t have to ‘caption.’


Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES.

Both the hotel’s General Manager, Tim O’Sullivan and B&NES Leader Tim Warren reflected on the fact that this new business was providing much-needed employment and one that was ‘buying in’ local produce.


Holy cow! It’s undercover boules in Bath!

Apex is a family run firm with ten hotels in Scotland and England. We couldn’t fault the welcome – nor the fun the staff had laid on. Everything for guests to enjoy from boules on the ‘green’ to a help-yourself sweetshop!


The hotel’s temporary help-yourself sweetshop.

The tour of the hotel’s facilities included the gym and pool area and the gift of an Apex duck – there were plenty floating on the water!


Grabbing a duck to take home!

Check out the facilities for yourselves on


Bath’s gulls have feathered competition!





A temple of convenience.

A temple of convenience.

Bath’s Sydney Gardens has a long and illustrious history.

Laid out as commercially-run 18th century pleasure grounds –  in which even Jane Austen herself would have strolled – the site was taken over by the old Bath City Council in 1908 and opened to the public.

sydney gardens

The main driveway through Sydney Gardens. 

These days – as we live in an age of austerity – the park has an air of faded glory.

It certainly needs some ‘TLC’ – which hopefully will come as a result of Heritage Lottery funding. An application for nearly four million pounds will be going in next year.

If successful – according to the B&NES website – ‘The funding will be used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscape and garden restoration works, and create new play areas for all ages, over a three year programme (2019 – 21).

sydney gardens

Winter sunshine in Sydney Gardens

Alongside the works, a programme of events and activities around art, nature, horticulture, wildlife, play, sport, archaeology and history will be put on.

The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.’

Someone who takes a keen interest in all this is Kirsten Elliott – a  local author and historian – who also gives guided walks around the city’s parks.


Kirsten Elliott – author and local historian.

She’s excited about one particular original feature – added when the Council bought the old Georgian ‘Vauxhall’ – but until now hidden and forgotten in the overgrown bushes.

It’s what celebrity author (Lady) Lucinda Lambton – who writes about architecture – would describe as a ‘temple of convenience.’ A cast-iron Edwardian ladies loo.

Kirsten took Bath Newseum along to have a look.

These days Bath’s public loos have been taken over by a private company who provide ‘well-maintained’ facilities that are accessed via a 20 pence piece.

sydney gardens

The existing facilities in Sydney Gardens

We have come a long way since the days of ‘spending a penny’ haven’t we. Out of interest, l can explain where that description of the ‘call of nature’ came from.

It’s all to do with the Great Exhibition – the world’s first trade fair – which opened in Joseph Paxton’s amazing Crystal Palace in 1851.


The Great Exhibition © Wikipedia


Over six million people visited so it was, with some relief l am sure, that the exhibition also featured the UK’s first paid-for flushing toilet when visitors spent one penny to experience a clean toilet seat, a towel, a comb and a shoe shine.

Records show that 675,000 pennies were spent!

Action on the Gravel Walk parking issue.

Action on the Gravel Walk parking issue.

Residents – with access to Bath’s historic Gravel Walk – are being contacted by B&NES with a warning about a new locking arrangement to stop the build-up of parked vehicles lining this route to Brock Street and the Royal Crescent.


Vans and cars lining Gavel Walk.

It follows many complaints about the damage being inflicted on Bath’s first by-pass – immortalised by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion – and more recently being churned up and seriously damaged by car and van wheels.

Here’s the letter – being delivered to residents – in full:Gravel Walk Residents letter

As you can see CARA – the local Residents Association – and the Council will be holding a meeting with residents once the new local and access system is in operation – to ‘work out a satisfactory permanent solution.’


Life on a rat run

Life on a rat run

There are road safety and traffic issues all over the city of Bath but forgive me if l just mention the one nearest to home. In fact it’s outside our front door.

We – my husband and l – live in a road which is a well-worn rat run during the morning and evening rush hours. Having lived here now for six years l am well aware of the history of our safety problem which has festered for 20 years and more.


The sort of traffic we don’t want to see.

We have bollards edging a narrow pavement on one side only because a mother campaigned for something to be done after a car mounted the side walk and narrowly missed her and her baby in the wheel chair she was pushing.

The road is two way. B&NES deliberated over a one way system but this came to nothing apparently because the residents couldn’t agree which way that would be – up or down our hill.

They won’t put speed bumps down – not even one at either end. At the top of our road is a busy crossroads but where cars park right up to the crossing and you cannot safely pull out because you cannot see what is coming.


The dangerous crossroads at the top of our street. Vehicles on the right mean you cannot see what is coming if you are driving up the hill.

There is a bus stop on the corner. B&NES is supposed to be painting in white bus stop space lines – in the hope this may push vehicles away from the corner – but nothing has been done.


Our front garden wall in pieces.

We had our front garden wall knocked down a couple of years ago by a vehicle reversing and not looking where he or she was going. They didn’t leave us a ‘sorry’ note.

There is a small patch of grass to one side of our drive which is gouged up by the wheels of reversing cars and lorries who have lost the ‘stand -off’ battle we often witness between one coming up and one coming down.


An attempt to stop vehicles ruining the patch of grass.

We put white painted rocks in place to try and deter this but they have been thrown into the road by the tyres of a vehicle which also gouged out the grass. Certainly hope they have a good scratch from the stones to take away with them.


Have put the two stones back but it’s left a gouge.

What do you do to get this Council to stir itself. I would try lying in the road but so many rat runners go so fast l wouldn’t stand a chance.

We have a small sign saying the road is not fit for wide vehicles but l am sure no one spots it. The lane on the other side of the cross roads has had a width restriction sign for longer but its now almost covered by ivy.


A really effective sign eh?

It was good to see groups of people mobilising themselves to fight to save  Bathampton Meadows and the Central Library at the Podium (though it’s still got to make room for the One Stop Shop).

Maybe it’s time to spread this action group wider or create a local party to fight the next local election. Unfortunately that is not until 2019.

PS. I want another bollard on the grass verge and l want it now!


Pulling the plug for winter shut down.

Pulling the plug for winter shut down.

The Laura Place fountain – just recently – would have been equally at home in the approach road to the ‘Emerald City’ in the Land of Oz – so green was its contents.

Laura Place Fountain

The fountain in Laura Place.

Though its recently been fitted with a new pump the flow of water came to a halt about two weeks ago. Today contractors arrived to drain the algae-coloured basin and put the old girl to sleep for the winter.


Time to hibernate. Draining the Laura Place fountain for the winter.

All being well, she will be switched on again for Easter at the end of March next year.


Looking drained. Job done!

The central fountain basin dates from 1877 – by A S Goodridge – and the rest of it from 1977. The current look has been described as a giant ashtray.

Laura Place

The Laura Place fountain looking down Great Pulteney Street to the Holburne Museum.

It remains – pretty well – almost all Bath has to celebrate its associations with water – hot and cold.