New Holburne Director named!

New Holburne Director named!

Bath’s Holburne Museum has named its new director. He’s Dr Chris Stephens – currently Head of Displays and Lead Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain. He will take up his new role in early July. Dr Stephens succeeds Jennifer Scott, now Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Dr Chris Stephens_portrait

Dr Chris Stephens. His most recent curation has been the on-going David Hockney retrospective that is projected to be the most popular exhibition in Tate Britain’s history.

John Barneby, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Holburne Museum, said: ‘I’m delighted, on behalf of the Trustees, to announce the appointment of Dr Chris Stephens as the new Director of the Holburne Museum to succeed Jennifer Scott.

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John Barneby, Chairman of Holburne Museum Trustees.

Chris has had an outstanding record at the Tate and once again the Holburne has been able to attract a top talent to continue to move it forward. I have every confidence that Chris will lead the Holburne with creative flair and grow the critical and popular success enjoyed by the Museum.’

On his appointment Chris Stephens said: ‘Since its reopening in 2011, I have admired the richness and professionalism of the Holburne, its staff and its programme, so I am thrilled to become its next Director and to continue and extend its innovation and all that it offers the people of Bath and beyond.’

Nick Serota, Director Tate, said: ‘Chris Stephens is an outstanding curator whose deep knowledge of British art, and of the twentieth century in particular, will bring real strength to the Holburne. In major exhibitions over the past decade he has brought new perspectives to the work of Henry Moore, Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and currently David Hockney.

He is widely recognised as the leading scholar on the St Ives School and has curated several exhibitions at Tate St Ives, including recently an important re-assessment of Peter Lanyon. Chris is widely respected in the art world and this affection and personal standing will carry the Holburne forward into an exciting new chapter.’

Alex Farquharson, Director Tate Britain, said: ‘Chris Stephens is a hugely respected and valued member of the Tate Britain team, where he leads the group of curators which has responsibility for modern British Art and the collection. His role in the hugely successful rehang of the collection of British art and redevelopment of Tate Britain is a significant achievement that leaves a substantial legacy for the public that reflects Chris’s enthusiasm, deep understanding of audiences and curatorial excellence.’

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Dr John Stephens © Tate Britain

As Head of Displays, Chris Stephens has overseen the programming, planning and delivery of the collection displays at Tate Britain since 2001. He played a key role in a major refurbishment of the building and in the complete rehang of the collection that accompanied it in 2013.

He is recognised as a leading scholar in 20th century British art and leads the team responsible for the development of and research into Tate’s collection from 1900 to the 1970s.

Chris’s own main area of research has been into artists in Cornwall in the 1940s and 50s and he has curated numerous successful exhibitions at Tate St Ives, including ‘Barbara Hepworth: Centenary’ (2003), ‘Peter Lanyon’ (2010) and ‘International Encounters: St Ives and Modern Art (2014); his book on the subject will be published in 2018. At Tate Britain he has curated a series of major exhibitions, including Gwen & Augustus John (2004), Francis Bacon (2008), Henry Moore (2010), Picasso and British Art (2012), Barbara Hepworth (2015) and, most recently, the on-going David Hockney retrospective that is projected to be the most popular exhibition in Tate Britain’s history.

Here’s links to a couple of YouTube pieces that show the man in action.

Jennifer’s Party!

Jennifer’s Party!

With due respect to ‘Abigail’-  it was most definitely Jennifer’s Party at the Holburne Museum last night as staff, trustees and friends packed the cafe to say goodbye to their Director and wish her well in her new London-based appointment.


Standing room only in the Holburne Museum cafe.

Jennifer Scott –  came to the Holburne in 2014 from her position as a curator at the Royal Collection.


People gathering for Jennifer Scott’s farewell party.

Next month she will take on her new role as the first female director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery since it opened in 1817.


Jennifer Scott in conversation at her farewell gathering.

Bath Newseum managed to draw John Barneby – the Chairman of the Holburne Museum Trustees – from out of the very vocal gathering to ask him how he felt about Jennifer’s leaving.

Defining a dynasty- a gem of a show.

Defining a dynasty- a gem of a show.

For colour – and sheer quality – Bath’s Holburne Museum has got itself a little gem of a new exhibition which brings together a variety of artistic work – across the whole  Bruegel family dynasty – for the first time in this country.


Guests admire the newly-discovered masterpiece.

Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty helps unravel the complex family tree – revealing the originality and diversity of its members across four generations of painters.


Thirty-five works are on display – including masterpieces from the National Gallery, Royal Collection Trust, the National trust, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the Barber lnstitute of Fine Arts.

Pride of place goes to the discovery of a masterpiece in the museum’s own collection.

This is Director Jennifer Scott’s last big show before she leaves for a new post as Director of the Dulwich Gallery in London.


Bruegel expert Amy Orrock and Holburne Director Jennifer Scott.

She has co-curated the display with Bruegel expert Amy Orrock who has also written  a book to accompany the exhibition.


The book Amy Orrock has written to accompany the exhibition.

lt’s not the biggest of galleries to lay out such an exclusive exhibition but – with a clever use of space and colour – the Holburne’s succeeded in providing the perfect background to show off both the talent and diversity of Antwerp’s most famous artistic dynasty and give you room to appreciate it.

Bath Newseum spoke to Jennifer and Amy – just before the special preview.


A book to accompany the exhibition Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty is written by Amy Orrock and published by Philip Wilson and will be on sale in the Holburne’s Gift Shop for £16.95.

Principal Exhibition Sponsor Bath Spa University Bruegel: Defining a Dynasty 11 February – 4 June 2017 £10 Full Price | £9 concessions | £5 Art Fund, Full Time Student | FREE Entry to under 16s and All Museum Members All tickets purchased online will state 5pm but are valid at any time during our opening hours The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB

Open daily, free admission 10am to 5pm (11am to 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays) T: 01225 388569 | E: |

Holburne Director leaves for Dulwich.

Holburne Director leaves for Dulwich.

p1160219Jennifer Scott, Director of the Holburne Museum, has been appointed as the new Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery. Jennifer will take up this position in April 2017, replacing Ian A C Dejardin, who is joining the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Ontario, Canada, as Chief Executive. 


Jennifer joined the Holburne Museum as Director in August 2014. Since then she has played a significant role in shaping the Museum’s centenary celebrations, with three critically acclaimed exhibitions in 2016. In addition, she led a successful £450,000 acquisition campaign for Sir Thomas Lawrence’s painting Arthur Atherley and a linked community engagement programme, and initiated conservation and research leading to new attributions, thereby positioning the Holburne as the primary UK Collection of works by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Jennifer has also initiated innovative national and international partnerships for the Holburne and developed its reputation as one of the UK’s best-loved independent Museums.

Holburne Museum

The Holburne Museum at the Sydney Gardens end of Great Pulteney Street.

Jennifer spoke to Bath Newseum about the news.

Richard Fleck, Chairman of Trustees at the Holburne Museum, said: “We will be very sad to lose Jennifer. She has achieved a great deal in her time at the Holburne – and the status of the Museum under her leadership has gone from strength to strength. This is a tremendous accolade for Jennifer, and also acknowledges the success and standing of the Holburne. We wish her well in her new position.”


Dulwich Gallery

Evelyn Welch, Chair of Trustees at Dulwich Picture Gallery, said: “I am delighted to be able to announce Jennifer’s appointment to this important role. Her passion for the Gallery is clear and her achievements at the Holburne Museum are an excellent foundation for joining Dulwich. We look forward to welcoming her on board as we look towards the Gallery’s future ambitions.”

From 2004-2014 Jennifer was Curator of Paintings at Royal Collection Trust. Prior to this she held positions at the National Gallery, London, and National Museums, Liverpool, and has curated a number of major exhibitions for The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh, The Bowes Museum County Durham and The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels.

Must end June 5th !Making a real impression – Holburne’s ‘block-buster’ show.

Must end June 5th !Making a real impression – Holburne’s ‘block-buster’ show.

Following on from the record figures Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery enjoyed during its Grayson Perry tapestry exhibition – it’s good to be able to report that the art establishment at the other end of Great Pulteney Street has something to shout about too.

Holburne Museum

The Holburne Museum at the Sydney Gardens end of Great Pulteney Street.

The Holburne Museum is currently in the middle of a run with a special exhibition called ‘Impressionism:Capturing Life‘ – which ends June 5th – and seems to have got it’s own ‘Bath blockbuster’ too!IMG_7887

That’s according to Holburne Museum Director Jennifer Scott who spoke to Bath Newseum today. She also had some news about landscaping work currently underway around the building.


Jennifer has written a booklet to accompany the Impressionism exhibition and l spotted it on sale just outside the entrance to the gallery.P1150444

Had to chuckle because – alongside a display of them – are give-away paint charts from the specialist paint company who supplied the hues used in the gallery as a background to the art work.

Seems a lot of people like the colours so much they want to know where they can buy them for their own homes!



Holburne turns Gold – until Jan 24th!

Holburne turns Gold – until Jan 24th!

The Holburne Museum

The Holburne Museum. Click on images to enlarge.

Bath stone may well turn to gold in the right light but while the effect on the Holburne Museum’s facade is magical – inside they have been offering people the opportunity of seeing lots of the real precious metal  in a new exhibition simply called ‘Gold.’

You’ve until January 24th to see it too!

Jennifer Scott, Director of the Holburne Museum.

Jennifer Scott, Director of the Holburne Museum.

For Director Jennifer Scott, it was a chance to bring to the city an exhibition which explores the enduring beauty and symbolism of gold through a selection of sixty exquisite works of art from the Royal Collection.

One that she herself curated in her former job with the trust which manages the public opening of the Queen’s official residences – and where she was Curator of Paintings.

Guests enjoying a private preview of the new Gold exhibition.

Guests enjoying a private preview of the new Gold exhibition.

The Virtual Museum attended a private preview for exhibition which runs  through to January 24th, 2016.

Nahoko Kojima and her paper cut sculpture in gold.

Nahoko Kojima and her paper cut sculpture in gold.

We also had a chance to see a contemporary piece of work which took Japanese paper cut artist Nahoko Kojima five months to create – and which compliments the main exhibition.

Just before the arrival of museum trustees, patrons and friends l had a chance to talk to Jennifer about what was on show.

As l understand it, this year’s Christmas tree at the Holburne will continue the gold theme with its decorations. It will be up there on the balcony – above the main entrance – and very visible through the length of Great Pulteney Street.