Major new exhibitions at the Holburne in 2018.

Major new exhibitions at the Holburne in 2018.

The Holburne Museum in Bath has today announced its 2018 exhibitions programme, including the first museum retrospective of the painter Anthony Fry, the first exhibition to bring together Dutch seventeenth-century paintings from National Trust collections around the country, and an exhibition focussed on Thomas Gainsborough’s theatrical portraits. As well as curating these three major new exhibitions, the Museum will organise contemporary commissions and public events throughout the year, with further details to be announced.

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

Dr Chris Stephens, Director of the Holburne Museum, said: ‘We look forward with great excitement to 2018. We are delighted to be working in close partnership with the National Trust on the first exhibition to bring together their Dutch masterpieces, and to be presenting shows of two significant artists with local connections and of international recognition. Bringing together great art of the past and the present, from around the world and from nearby is what the Holburne is all about.’

2018 EXHIBITIONS PROGRAMME

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Anthony Fry, Mango and Rice Paddies, Thirunelli, 1991, ©Private Collection / Permission kindly granted by the estate of Anthony Fry

Anthony Fry: A Retrospective 
(9 February – 7 May 2018) is the first major exhibition of the painter Anthony Fry (1927 – 2016). Though Fry enjoyed considerable commercial success in Britain and the United States this is his first museum retrospective. Comprising works lent from prestigious private collections, this exhibition will reveal the extent of his talent. Fry’s principal inspiration was his travels across Tuscany, Andalucía, India, Morocco and the Sahara Desert. He had an early introduction to art through his great aunt Marjorie Fry, sister of the art critic Roger Fry, and through her had contact with the Bloomsbury Group, and was cousin to the painter Howard Hodgkin. He sought a synthesis of the figurative tradition in which he had been trained and abstraction, most notably that of Mark Rothko.

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Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait Wearing a White Feathered Bonnet © National Trust Images – Chris Titmus

Prized Possessions: Dutch Paintings from National Trust Houses 
(25 May – 16 September 2018) will bring together Dutch seventeenth-century paintings from National Trust collections around the country for the first time, including works by masters of the ‘Golden Age’ such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Lely, Gabriel Metsu, Aelbert Cuyp and Cornelis de Heem. The National Trust cares for one of the largest and most significant collections of art in the UK, commissioned and collected by country house owners for over 300 years. The exhibition will explore what made Dutch art so sought after among country house owners and how Dutch art collecting in British country houses developed over the centuries, as tastes and interests changed.

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Thomas Gainsborough, Mrs Siddons © The National Gallery, London

Gainsborough and the Theatre 
(5 October 2018 – 20 January 2019) celebrates Thomas Gainsborough’s close involvement with the theatre world of London and Bath. It will showcase some of his finest portraits of his friends in the theatre, creating a conversation between the leading actors, managers, musicians, playwrights, designers, dancers and critics of the 1760s to 1780s. It shows how his work with the likes of David Garrick in Bath launched his career there and later in London, and how actors enabled him to explore naturalism in portraiture, just as they and their contemporaries turned to less artificial forms of performance in theatre, music and dance. Themes of celebrity and friendship will also be explored through some of the most touching likenesses by “the most faithful disciple of Nature that ever painted.”

 

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Anthony Fry: A Retrospective
The Holburne Museum, Bath
9 February – 7 May 2018
£10 | £9 concession | £5 Art Fund | Free to all Museum Members and under 16s

Prized Possessions: Dutch Paintings from National Trust Houses
25 May – 16 September 2018
£10 | £9 concession | £7.50 National Trust Members | £5 Art Fund | Free to all Museum Members and under 16s

Gainsborough and the Theatre
5 October 2018 – 20 January 2019
£10 | £9 concession | £5 Art Fund | Free to all Museum Members and under 16s

Bath’s heritage blooms amongst the flowers.

Bath’s heritage blooms amongst the flowers.

Many of  Bath’s museums and heritage interests took part in an open air celebration of World Heritage Day in the city’s Parade Gardens – alongside the River Avon and just below Pulteney Weir.

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Looking down on part of the Heritage Day display in Parade Gardens.

It was a fitting location. as this year’s celebratory theme was ‘Waters of Bath’ and activities focused on the past, present and future use and significance of Bath’s hot springs, river and canal network.

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This year’s celebrations included a marquee for special talks on local history and heritage subjects.

This year has special importance for Bath as the city celebrates 30 years of being a World Heritage Site.

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Stuart Burroughs – who is Director of The Museum of Bath at Work – giving a talk about Bath’s bridges in the heritage site marquee. One of many lectures about local heritage and history.

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The Cleveland Pools Trust display.

For the first time, there was a programme of short talks in a specially erected marquee. Local experts explored different aspects of the water theme, including the medicinal use of spa water, the importance of the waterways in the Georgian development of the city, Bath’s cold water springs and minor spas, the use of thermal water to heat the Abbey, and the history of Bath’s river crossings.

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Robert Delius – Author of ‘Waters of Bath’.

Amongst exhibitors was Robert Delius – a local architect with Stride Treglown – who is campaigning for more street-based water features to celebrate the city’s debt to its springs and river.

He had put together a 42 page report – entitled ‘The Waters of Bath” – to circulate amongst interested parties and , in catching up with him today (Sunday, April 23rd) it seems there have been some encouraging developments.

There was also plenty to keep younger visitors busy in the Parade Gardens – including a cardboard model of the Pulteney Bridge for them to complete by adding windows.

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Some of the youngsters helping to put windows onto the cardboard model of Pulteney Bridge – part of the display by Bath Preservation Trust.

Plus guided tours offered by the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides, a walk to the Cleveland Pools and even a two hour National Trust trek to the Bath Skyline.

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The Mayor of Bath’s Honorary Guides display and meeting point.

Even more exhibits underneath part of the Colonnades – a derelict area which may come back to life. That’s if plans to attract restaurants and extend the Victoria Gallery come to fruition.

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Bath’s Record Office display in the Colonnades.

The city’s Record Office – currently closed (until June 5th} for redecoration and incorporation of the Local Studies Reference Collection from Bath Central Library – chose various stories from the archive collection to do with the river and local springs for their display.

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Colin Johnston – Principal Archivist at the City’s Record Office.

Colin Johnston – who is is the Principal Archivist – told me they had deliberately chosen their niche in the Colonnades because it features in two old photographs in their collection.

Photographs showing it as a special water-based destination – as Colin explained.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: enquiries@holburne.org | http://www.holburne.org

A little light cleaning

A little light cleaning

It’s cleaning time in the ballroom at Bath’s Assembly Rooms. These are some of the most important chandeliers to have survived from the 18th century.

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Cleaning the chandeliers in the ballroom of Bath’s Assembly Rooms.

Mounted on pulleys they are lowered twice a year for cleaning. The three in the tea room and the five here in the ballroom are by William Parker of Fleet Street.

An earlier set in the ballroom – made by Jonathan Collett – were dismantled just one month after the Rooms opened in 1771.

Seems part of one of them collapsed arm and fell to the floor – narrowly missing painter Thomas Gainsborough as he danced beneath.

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Chandeliers ‘hover’ just above the ballroom floor.

They were taken down and the best bits put together to form a singular large chandelier for the Octagon. This is where fortunes were made or lost at the card tables.

Roman road at Claverton Down

Roman road at Claverton Down

Nice to hear from local historian and writer  John Branston about an interesting discovery at Claverton Down. In an email to the Virtual Museum he says:

The exposed Roman edging  exposed at Claverton Down.

The Roman road edging exposed at Claverton Down.

‘Thought you might like to know the following. A friend lives at Chedworth Close, Claverton Down, and it’s widely known that the Roman road from Bradford comes in along the strip of land between Chedworth Close and the woods.

Last week, National Trust works to create a new path surface uncovered one of the kerbs of the Roman road.

On Sunday three of us got the trowels out and exposed a few more, plus a little of the ‘surface’. Actually the surface flag stones are gone, but the rest is in good shape.
Thought you might like to go and take a look. Maybe B&NES and the National Trust could start a project to reinstate a 100m section of road? Beyond the Baths, our Roman heritage is not very evident…’