Concern grows for future of the “Min”.

One of Bath’s best-loved Georgian buildings could be about to shut up shop.

With a personal view of developments, Professor George Odam, who was Patient Governor of the RNHRD for nine years until his resignation in August last year, raises his concerns for the building’s future and has his own ideas about how the Min could still play a useful role to enhance the city’s reputation as a health spa.

In 1988 there was a move to relocate The Min to the RUH site in Combe Park and the plans and rationale can be viewed at the Guildhall Archive. Merging the administration of the two hospitals makes good sense, but the identity and mission of both are very different and both need preservation so that they can continue to function. This has been achieved in many other English cities.

However, in 1988 the proposal was to sell The Min and make it into a shopping mall, with a Plan B of a hotel. Since the rebuild of Southgate, the loss of The Podium and the new hotel development in Beau Street, the most likely outcome of the sale of The Min would be a boarded up site that would deteriorate and be subject to vandalism.

But money <strong>is</strong> a central issue and a new campaign to save, recondition and modernise the interior of The Min and restore the Grade 2 exterior would have to be found. There are local, national and private funds for this sort of thing once a case has been well made, and I am certain that many patients, families and friends would wish to support such a venture.

Bath is the only significant and active European Spa City without its own Spa Hospital. In the 1960s and 70s The Min’s hydrotherapy pool was fed by the Roman Spring until the amoeba stopped it all. The conduits still lie beneath the streets.”


<strong>EDITOR</strong> Professor Odam mentioned the launch of Dr Roger Roll’s new book describing the rise of mineral water as a therapy and how treatments in Rheumatology have changed. It will be launched in the Chapel at The Min on Monday, November 26th. It’s a ticket only presentation which is complemented by an exhibition of original 18th century patient records and historical medical artefacts.

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-481″><img title=”chapel” alt=”” src=”; height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> The chapel at The Min

Kate Lane and her helpers at the hospital have been putting it  together and l know she wants to develop the display further and hopefully be able to let school groups in to visit. I have asked her to do her own Virtual Museum piece on the subject in the not too distant future!

However, l have been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of some of the exhibits. I love signatures and have had the fantastic opportunity of gazing down at the names of some of the city’s historical ‘greats’ in their own hand writing – including Richard Nash, William Oliver, Ralph Allen and John Wood the Elder. Also some of the earliest patients records in very clear handwriting.

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-485″><img title=”ralph allen signature” alt=”” src=”; height=”210″ width=”280″ /></a> Clearly ‘Ralph Allen’

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-486″><img title=”richard nash” alt=”” src=”; height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> Look down the list for ‘Jo Wood’

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-483″><img title=”patients report” alt=”” src=”; height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Patient records from 1749!

Remember this was a hospital serving the poor of all England and many of them stayed here for many weeks. At the bottom of each entry is a clear indication of whether they had benefitted from their treatment or died!

I loved the collection of badges which had to be worn by patients to identify them as such. One entry records the fact that a patient was turned out for being caught in a local public house. Landlords could be fined for serving patients from the hospital.

<a href=”; rel=”attachment wp-att-482″><img title=”hospital badges” alt=”” src=”; height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Collection of ward and patient badges

There is much here that truly deserves to be seen by a wider audience. This ancient institution – England’s first national hospital – is an important part of this city’s history. 2012.

Out to dazzle at Bath’s Victoria Gallery

Out to dazzle at Bath’s Victoria Gallery

Bath based artist John Eaves has a new exhibition at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery from Saturday, September 6th. John Eaves: Small Beginnings will run until until 23 November 2014.
Jon Benington, Manager at the Council-run gallery commented: “These vibrant compositions in paint, crayon and collage will dazzle the viewer in this show by one of our most distinguished local artists.” This exhibition mounted by Bath & North East Somerset Council demonstrates Eaves’ continuing concerns with landscape sources, from geological strata and trees to glowing sunsets. These ‘beginnings’ formed the basis for larger studio improvisations.

John Eaves, Split Decision, oil on canvas, 2011

John Eaves, Split Decision, oil on canvas, 2011

Eaves is well known locally as an artist and musician and the rhythms and colours of his paintings reflect his love of jazz, which is always playing in his studio.
He was born in 1929 and trained at the Bath Academy of Art between 1949 and 1952 and went on to work as Course Director for part-time courses in the visual arts at Bath College of Higher Education between 1958 and 1985.

He is a member of the Royal West of England Academy.
The theme linking all works in the show is that of vivid, boldly applied colour. As the artist has commented: “The images I make now run parallel to nature rather than rely on direct observations or reminiscences. Echoes and sonorities of landscape will inevitably persist, but above all, if the paintings succeed, I hope they breathe optimism.”
John Eaves’ work reminds us that our relationship to colour is primal: an original and constant sympathy. There is no concerted effort to represent; but the desire to express formal arrangements is striking. He takes inspiration from Emil Nolde’s mythically-inflected North German landscapes with their elemental paradoxes of colour, and Paul Cezanne for the relationship between forms.
John Eaves has exhibited throughout Great Britain and Germany. His paintings are in both national and private collections, notably the Arts Council, Bristol City Art Gallery and the city of Braunschweig, Germany. In 1966 he was awarded the first Churchill Fellowship as a painter and received a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship in 1986.
In 1985 Eaves produced a painting called ‘Blue Spreading’ which Ikea turned into a best-selling poster in 1991 and more than 45,000 copies were sold. In this new exhibition, all exhibits are for sale.

Modern Masters in Print

Modern Masters in Print

This autumn Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of prints from some of the most famous artists from the 20th century.

Modern Masters in Print runs from Saturday September 6 – Sunday November 23, 2014, and will explore the printed work of four of the 20th century’s greatest artists: Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol.


Andy Warhol, Untitled from Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn), screen-print on paper, 1967. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Victoria and Albert Museum, London and DACS, 2014

Andy Warhol, Untitled from Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn), screen-print on paper, 1967. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Victoria and Albert Museum, London and DACS, 2014

The touring exhibition has been curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Gill Saunders, Senior Curator of Prints at the V&A.
Each artist used the print in his own way.

For Matisse and Picasso, printmaking was one of the many artistic media they employed. They used it to explore themes and motifs from other areas of their work.
For Dalí, printmaking was an exercise in experimentation, and through it he developed many imaginative new processes. Warhol’s prints were his primary means of expression and central to his body of work. His screen-prints based on mass-produced images challenged the concept of the ‘original’ print.

Together these four artists spanned a 75-year period that saw the birth of the modern age. They covered a wide range of techniques, and their work represents one of the most creative and diverse periods of printmaking in the history of western art.

Councillor Ben Stevens, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We’re proud to be hosting such a prestigious exhibition which brings together four of the greats of modern art. This is a show for all those interested in 20th century art and an opportunity to compare and contrast their achievements.”

Tickets cost £3.50 with concessions. There will be a lunchtime talk every Thursday from 12.30-1.10pm which will be free to ticket holders.

The Victoria Art Gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sundays 1.30pm – 5pm. It is closed on Mondays.

New Director for Holburne Museum

New Director for Holburne Museum

The Trustees of Bath’s Holburne Museum have announced the appointment of Jennifer Scott to succeed Alexander (Xa) Sturgis as Director.

The Holburne's new Director Jennifer Scott, Photograph Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Holburne’s new Director
Jennifer Scott, Photograph Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Jennifer comes from Royal Collection Trust where she has been a curator since 2004. Prior to this she worked at the National Gallery, London and National Museums, Liverpool. Jennifer 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.
Jennifer gained her BA and MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Her publications include books on Royal Portraiture and Dutch and Flemish Art. Jennifer became a welcome and familiar face when she worked with the Holburne team on one of the Museum’s most popular exhibitions ‘Rembrandt and his Contemporaries: Paintings from the Royal Collection’ in 2013.

Richard Fleck, Chairman of the Holburne Trustees said: ‘We are delighted to announce Jennifer’s appointment as Director of the Holburne Museum. Jennifer has the energy, imagination and leadership to succeed Xa Sturgis and ensure the continued success of the Museum as it moves to the next stage of its development.’

Jennifer Scott said: ‘After ten happy years at Royal Collection Trust, I am excited to be appointed as Director of the Holburne Museum. Xa Sturgis has led the museum with ambition and flair through its spectacular renovation. I look forward to working with the team of staff, volunteers and trustees to continue this momentum, building on the Holburne’s reputation for cultural excellence.’

High spirits at the Holburne.

High spirits at the Holburne.


Portly squires and young dandies – Jane Austenesque heroines and their gruesome chaperones – dashing young officers and corrupt politicians. The absurdities of fashion, the perils of love, political machinations and royal intrigue were the daily subject matter of Thomas Rowlandson(1757–1827), one of the leading caricaturists of Georgian Britain.

Doctor Convex and Lady Concave, 20 November 1802 Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827) Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Doctor Convex and Lady Concave, 20 November 1802
Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Rowlandson’s incisive and enduringly popular caricatures are celebrated in an exhibition from Royal Collection Trust which is coming to the Holburne Museum from Saturday, September 27th through to February 8th, 2015.

The exhibition is called High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson and will bring together some of the artist’s finest prints and drawings from the important collection of his work, held in the Royal Collection.

In Rowlandson’s time, the satirical print was one of London’s most important artistic products, and he made a major contribution to the success of this genre. Such works were collected by the fashionable for their albums, pasted to walls and screens as decoration, and laughed over at dinner parties and in coffee houses.

Among Rowlandson’s eager collectors was the young George, Prince of Wales (1762–1830), later George IV, himself a gambler, drinker and magnet for scandal.

At the same time, the Prince and his brothers had a fraught relationship with caricaturists, often finding themselves the butt of vicious attacks on their lifestyle, affairs, and attempts to interfere in politics.
Rowlandson turned his pen on Britain’s enemy Napoleon Bonaparte, the fast-living Charles James Fox, the ambitious William Pitt the Younger and the glamorous and scandalous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. London high society, too, was the focus of many of his caricatures, which revelled in the absurdities of fashion, the cult of theatrical celebrity and the perils of love. Not even Bath could escape his sardonic eye. Also on display will be some of Rowlandson’s gentle English views which, though never intended as satire, are infused with gentle humour.
Comical, irreverent, clever and prolific, Thomas Rowlandson produced work which is as amusing today as it was when it was published. His witty prints and drawings provide a first- hand account of political machinations and royal intrigue set against the comedy of manners that was Georgian Britain.
The Holburne’s showing of the exhibition will include a specially selected group of prints inspired by life in Bath: the complete series of twelve Comforts of Bath and the 1810 satire Bath Races.
First shown at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh Friday, 22 November 2013 to Sunday, 2 March 2014. Showing at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in 2015.
Catalogue published by Royal Collection Trust:
High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson by Kate Heard, 2013

Biba boss in Bath

Biba boss in Bath

An internationally-famous fashion icon will be visiting Bath in September at the invitation of staff at the city’s world-renowned Fashion Museum run by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Barbara Hulanicki OBE, who founded the famous Biba fashion brand in London during the early 1960s, will be talking about her life, career and work at a discussion on Monday, 8 September.

The iconic Biba brand is one of the best-loved names of British fashion, with many women having great memories of shopping at Biba in London in the 1960s and 70s. The audience will have an opportunity to hear at first-hand how Barbara created her company and brand.

Fashion MuseumBarbara is one of the great names of fashion and has come especially to Bath, for one night only, for an exclusive ‘in conversation’ discussion in the Tea Room at the Assembly Rooms in Bath with leading fashion writer Professor Iain R Webb, of the Royal College of Art, about her publication of a new book THE BIBA YEARS: 1963-1975.

The discussion has been organized by Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Fashion Museum, which includes ensembles by Biba among its extensive collection, working in close association with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Barbara’s book is a V&A publication.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “We are privileged to welcome Barbara Hulanicki to Bath.

“Since the Fashion Museum is one of the top ten museums of fashion in the world, it is appropriate that it should host this event. The Museum often works in collaboration with other major UK fashion museum collections.

“It is difficult to overestimate the influence of Biba on a whole generation of women and the Fashion Museum is proud to be working with such a world-renowned fashion icon. In addition, Iain R Webb has a close partnership with the Fashion Museum and is one of our senior advisors.

“The Fashion Museum gift shop has one of the most comprehensive selections of books on fashion in the country, and is much sought after by students and professionals as well as lovers of fashion.”

Founded as a boutique mail-order service in 1963, Biba quickly gained cult status in London during the early 1960s and 70s. The company outgrew several premises before landing at 99–117 Kensington High Street, London, in 1973 as ‘Big Biba’, ‘the most beautiful store in the world’.

Today, Barbara Hulanicki is an established interior designer and continues to create innovative designs. She is working on her 30th collection for George at ASDA and designing for her latest venture Iconclub.

Tickets for the discussion are priced at £15 or £12 for Discovery Card holders from Bath Box Office. Following the talk Barbara Hulanicki will be signing copies of her new book, which was co-authored with Martin Pel.

Last week to enter book competition.

Last week to enter book competition.

A previous entry.

A previous entry.

This year’s Recycle an Ex Library Book Competition closes on August 30th.

To be in with a chance of winning a prize supplied by this year’s sponsor “The Makery” drop your entries in at Bath Central Library before Saturday 30th.

The Exhibition of all entries will open from Wednesday 3rd of September where you will be able to vote for your favourite.

Coins hit the Roman road.

Coins hit the Roman road.

The Beau Street Hoard roadshow will be touring Bath and North East Somerset and beyond this autumn, bringing with it the opportunity to get up and close and personal with 2,000-year-old silver Roman coins.

The roadshow is part of a project aimed at bringing communities closer to the 17,577 Roman coins that make up the fabulous Beau Street Hoard. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The first handful from the hoard which is now known to contain nearly 18,000 coins.

The first handful from the hoard which is now known to contain nearly 18,000 coins.

At the roadshow, staff from the Roman Baths will bring out a selection of the hoard’s coins for handling. They will also provide a wealth of information, activities and displays so visitors can learn about this important find. Fascinating illustrated talks examine the hoard, its discovery and significance. It’s a fun family event – and you can even strike your own Roman coin to take home.

The roadshow will be in Combe Hay Church from 10.30am and until 4pm on Saturday September 6.

Cllr Ben Stevens, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, (Lib Dem, Widcombe) said: “This amazing Roman find is something Bath & North East Somerset Council is keen to make sure as many people as possible can learn from and enjoy. Thanks to the efforts of our staff and the Heritage Lottery Fund this roadshow is just one opportunity to discover the hoard – and there will be many more opportunities in the future.”

Peter Duppa-Miller, from Combe Hay Parochial Church Council, said: “The community is really looking forward to the Beau Street Hoard roadshow coming to Combe Hay and a chance for us to see and handle the actual coins from the collection.”

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

The hoard lifted by crane ©Cotswold Archaeology

The hoard was excavated by archaeologists on the site of the new Gainsborough Hotel in Beau Street, Bath, in 2007. The Roman coins span the period from 32BC – 274AD and were found in eight separate money bags, which were fused together.

Some of the cleaned coins.

Some of the cleaned coins.

In March 2014 Bath & North East Somerset Council was awarded a grant of £372,500 from The Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase the hoard, and, from January 2015, it will be on permanent public display in a new interactive exhibit within the Aquae Sulis Gallery at The Roman Baths.

Susan Fox, Collections Manager at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “The images on the coins are fascinating. They were the easiest way the Emperor had of communicating with his citizens, and therefore represent thousands of mini political broadcasts.”

The roadshow will roll on to the Weston-super-Mare Museum on Saturday September 20, Southstoke Village Hall on Saturday September 27, Priston Village Hall on Saturday October 4, and Bradford-on-Avon Library on Saturday October 18 Further dates are being planned – keep an eye on for all the latest news.