Let us entertain you!

Let us entertain you!

There’s nothing new about ensuring visitors to Bath are duly entertained – especially if they’ve come to ‘take the waters’ and came during a historical period when visiting meant not a couple of days but anything from three weeks to three months.


Entertainment in Bath continues through to March 14. Admission includes a free audio guide. There is no charge to Bathonians producing their Discovery cards.

A new exhibition at the city’s Victoria Art Gallery is based around the story of entertainment in Bath – from the city’s Georgian heyday until the present day.

P1170144 2

This is Richard Beau Nash. While he was Master of Ceremonies – from 1704 until his death in 1761 – Bath became the most fashionable resort in 18th Century England.

During the 18th century Bath was second only to London for the quality and variety of the music, art and theatre that were on offer. Although these and other high-minded activities were a vital part of Georgian Bath’s social scene, this was not the whole picture.

There was also a seedy side to the city. Gambling and prostitution were rife – and very much part of Bath’s appeal to those who came here for hedonistic reasons.


During the 1960s and 1970s, the Roman Rendevous gave people an opportunity to bathe in hot spring water in the unique surroundings of the Great Roman Bath.

The exhibition looks at the events, activities and performances those former residents and visitors enjoyed. It also brings the story up to date, covering Bath International Music Festival, and infamous pop concerts and events that many local people will remember.


Fireworks over the Royal Crescent as part of Bath Festival celebrations in 1981.

It gathers together the stories about the people, places and attractions that made Georgian Bath such a vibrant centre – with more recent manifestations like the Bath Festival that is to some extent a legacy from that time.


Parade Gardens was formerly known as The Institution Gardens in the 19th century.

Entertainment in Bath celebrates the city’s cultural history with a huge variety of prints and watercolours from the Gallery’s own collection – alongside loans from the Royal Collection and the National Portrait Gallery.


How British Railways prompted the city of Bath and its famous visitors and residents.

It has been curated by Katharine Wall who met Bath Newseum to tell us more.

Entertainment in Bath runs through to March 14th.

It includes special performances by Bath Spa University drama students who will be bringing ‘Entertainment in Bath’ to life Saturdays 10, 17 and 24 February and again on March 3rd. All from 12 pm to 2pm.

That’s entertainment – Bath style.

That’s entertainment – Bath style.

Celebrities, musicians, actors and artists of Georgian Bath come under a new spotlight when an exhibition dedicated to their incredible stories opens at the Victoria Art Gallery.

From the sleazy to the sophisticated ‘Entertainment in Bath’ looks at performers and events in the city since its Georgian heyday through to its Victorian past and more recently Bath Festival and infamous pop concerts.

In the 18th century, Bath was second only to London for the remarkable quality and variety of music, art and theatre on offer. Performers would come to the city to entertain the wealthy spa visitors. Here they would develop their skills, and attract a following and a good reputation before moving on to further fame and fortune in London.


Pictured is one of the scenes featured in the Entertainment in Bath exhibition

Wonderful portraits by Gainsborough, Bath’s best painter at the time, and works by the Georgian comic artist Thomas Rowlandson will feature in the exhibition.

Highlights from the gallery’s own collection of paintings, drawings and prints will be on show alongside important loans from the Royal Collection, lent by Her Majesty The Queen, and the National Portrait Gallery.

The exhibition, which runs from January 13 to March 14, will touch upon some of the less obvious ‘entertainments’ in the city, covering the full spectrum of morality, from gambling and prostitution to attendance at fashionable chapels.

The quirkier exhibits will include gambling paraphernalia and instruments similar to those played by musicians such as William Herschel, who lived and worked in Bath.

Councillor Paul Myers, (Conservative, Midsomer Norton Redfield) Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration, said: “Entertainment in Bath will give a fascinating insight into the city’s social history, while showcasing highlights from the Victoria Art Gallery’s outstanding collection.

“Some of the creative stars depicted in the exhibition are still well-known today, while others have been largely forgotten. However they are all intrinsically linked to Bath’s history as a centre for entertainment and creativity, and all have interesting stories to tell.”

Entertainment in Bath will be brought to life by special performances by Bath Spa University drama students on Saturday 24 February and 3, 17, 24 March at 12pm-2pm.

The show will also be accompanied by a free audioguide.  Admission to the exhibition is free for local residents with a Discovery Card (www.bathnes.gov.uk/discoverycard).


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

Round and round the Gardens.

Round and round the Gardens.

The Mayor of Bath‘s Corps of Honorary Guides is a group of men and women who volunteer each day of the year – except Christmas Day – to give visitors to the city a two-hour tour of its main attractions.

Looking down Great Pulteney Street from the Laura Place fountain.

Looking down Great Pulteney Street from the Laura Place fountain.

Starting this week the Corps is introducing a new weekly walk for summer 2013 which will explore Great Pulteney Street and Sydney Gardens

The walks will start at 11.00 am on Thursday mornings outside the Visitor Information Centre in Abbey Chambers (not the Pump Room) and finish at the Holburne Museum.  They will take about one hour and run from 23 May to 26 September which coincides with the new exhibition at the Holburne of Rembrandt and his Contemporaries: Paintings from the Royal Collection’.

It’s hoped this new weekly walk will introduce visitors to a part of Bath that the Corps doesn’t have time to cover on its daily walking tours.

Kennet and Avon Canal running through Sydney Gardens

Kennet and Avon Canal running through Sydney Gardens

Booking is only required for groups of 12 or more. There is more information about all the walks on the Corps web-site. That’s www.bathguides.org.uk