Magic night of lanterns and light.

Magic night of lanterns and light.

lantern procession 2014Hundreds of people have taken part in what surely must be the biggest lanternlantern procession 2014 procession through Bath that the Holburne Museum has got together in the eight years this magical event has been running.

Hundreds more lined the streets to experience a night of lanterns, lights and music.

This year’s theme was On the High Seas and there was an assortment of things big and small – from jelly fish and minnows to submarines, galleons and even an elephant!

Virtual Museum fans can watch some of the event by clicking on the link below.


Panto man on a plinth at Holburne Museum

Panto man on a plinth at Holburne Museum

The late and great comic actor Chris Harris – star of countless pantomimes at Bath’s Theatre Royal – has been commemorated in a work of art that has gone on display at the Holburne Museum in the city.

'Hello You Tinkers! Chris Harris as Widow Twankey' Paul Gunning MA

‘Hello You Tinkers! Chris Harris as Widow Twankey’
Paul Gunning MA

The Holburne Museum

The Holburne Museum

A ceramic figure of Chris – dressed as Window Twankey – is just one of eleven temporary installations from MA ceramics and textiles students at Bath Spa University’s  School of Art & Design which have now gone on show throughout the building.

It is the work of Paul Gunning who is a MA Design: Ceramics graduate this year and who has explained his choice of subject  on a card alongside the figure.

Paul says: ‘ I’ve always been drawn to the Holburne’s ceramic figures and paintings of actors. When l decided to create this figure, Chris was very much alive and heaving the matronly bosom.

Now the work is dedicated to the memory of a generous, funny man who looked fantastic in lipstick and Doc Martens.’

Well there’s no denying this would make a fitting installation for Bath’s Theatre Royal – if the money could be raised to buy it?

Meanwhile, the Virtual Museum has been down to speak to the Holburne’s Curator of Decorative Arts, Catrin Jones, who can explain exactly what the tie-up with Bath Spa is.



Whether responding to individual pieces in the collection, highlighting objects not usually on display or commenting on Sir William Holburne himself, this exciting collaboration between Bath Spa University and the Holburne Museum will stimulate new interpretations and ways of looking.

The show includes ceramics by Charlotte Asprey, Rupert Brakspear, Adele Christensen, Paul Gunning, Wen Hsi Harman, Elise Menghini and Richard Winfield, and textiles by Kate Bond, Jayne Goulding, Bronwen Gwillim, and Carole Wadham.

The exhibition graphics were designed by Paul Gunning.




It’s going to be a blue (and white) Christmas at the Holburne!

It’s going to be a blue (and white) Christmas at the Holburne!

Got a chance to meet Jennifer Scott – the new Director of the Holburne Museum – today and she’s very excited about the venue’s new exhibition which features the comic art of Thomas Rowlandson. He was one of the leading caricaturists of Georgian Britain and many of his cartoons feature Bath. The exhibition has just opened and will run through to February next year.

Jennifer has also been telling me what’s in store for this year’s Christmas theme at the Holburne – so stay with this article until the end to find out more!

She has come to Bath from her previous job as curator at the Royal Collection Trust. A job she has done since 2004. She has curated a number of major exhibitions for the Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh.

Jennifer also worked with the Holburne Museum team last year on the Rembrandt Exhibition which also featured paintings from the Royal Collection.

But first – let’s talk about Thomas Rowlandson.



Jennifer has only been in the job for five weeks and was not about to divulge long-term plans for the Holburne. However she was able to give me a taster of what to expect at the museum this Christmas.




Fresh art on display!

Fresh art on display!

FREE Exhibition of new artwork created for the Hillview Acute Inpatient Unit in Bath.
At The Schoolhouse, Building of Bath Collection, The Paragon,
Bath, BA1 5NA.
31st May – 8th June, 12.00 – 4.00 daily.

Building of Bath Museum

Building of Bath Museum

No.1 Royal Crescent, the Holburne Museum and the American Museum in Britain have hosted a series of creative workshops resulting in a remarkable collection of artwork to be displayed in Hillview Lodge, B&NES’s acute inpatient unit in Bath.

The artists are people with experience of mental health challenges plus their friends and family. The artwork includes collage and painting and presents such challenges in a positive light, breaking down the stigma often associated with this subject.

The original idea behind the Fresh Art @ Hillview project came from service users at Hillview Lodge who wanted to give something back to the ward. Providing fresh artwork will promote conversation and inspiration within Hillview and give confidence, new skills and a sense of pride to those whose work is on display.

The project itself has been run as a partnership between local organisations: Avon and Wiltshire NHS Trust (AWP), Bath Preservation Trust, the Holburne Museum, the American Museum in Britain, Creativity Works, Sirona and St. Mungo’s.

Hannah Carding, one of the lead artists, said: “It has been very rewarding to see how participants have enjoyed developing their artistic skills so much. They have really flourished in this project.”
Polly Andrews, Co-ordinator of the Bath Museums Community Engagement project commented: “We have been delighted to work in partnership to provide an opportunity for the participants to feel inspired by our unique collections and beautiful settings.”FreshArt@Hillview

Participants on the project came from the acute inpatient community at Hillview as well as many peer-led creative groups such as Tiny Monuments and The Inspirational Arts & Crafts group, which have grown from wellbeing projects across B&NES.

For more information on the Fresh Art @ Hillview exhibition or the project itself contact:
Name: Polly Andrews
Tel: / email: 01225 333895
The artworks will be on display in the Schoolhouse at the Building of Bath Collection on the Paragon between 31 May and 8 June, between 12 and 4pm daily. Free admission.


Oh no missus! Julian Opie at the Holburne.

Oh no missus! Julian Opie at the Holburne.

Julian Opie

Click on images to enlarge.

julian opie

Click on images to enlarge.

Oh no missus – as Frankie Howerd might have exclaimed – what is a naked woman and a little urinating boy doing on the back lawn at Bath’s Holburne Museum?

Well – hopefully – it won’t result in too many ‘ladies of leisure’ choking on their clotted cream and jam scones but the painted metal shapes and digital simulation are part of a fantastic exhibition due to open soon in this  popular museum of art at the Sydney Gardens end of Great Pulteney Street.

To those familiar with the  work of Julian Opie – English sculptor, painter, printmaker and installation artist –  you won’t need me to explain that these ‘humorous and playful sculptures’ are typical of a man who has been an influential figure on the British art scene since the 1980’s.

Opening on June 21st, the Holburne will be hosting  – Julian Opie: Collected Works which continues a series of exhibitions at the venue exploring artists and their collections.

Julian is one of this country’s most important and successful contemporary artists and this will be his first one person exhibition in a UK museum for over ten years.

Uniquely it will bring together his own works – including some previously unseen works – with pieces from his private art collection and explore the links and resonances between the two.




Help celebrate Bath’s World Heritage status.

Help celebrate Bath’s World Heritage status.

sydney gardensSydney Gardens is to host an afternoon of free events and activities on Sunday 13 April as Bath & North East Somerset Council, in partnership with Bath Preservation Trust and the Holburne Museum, celebrates 27 years of Bath’s World Heritage Site status.

World Heritage Day will feature fun for the whole family in Sydney Gardens, one of the country’s last surviving 18th century pleasure gardens, from 12noon to 4pm.  Running alongside the Holburne Museum’s ‘Explosive Easter Eggstravaganza’, there will be events and activities for everyone to enjoy and a chance to learn more about the past and future of this historic park.

The Mayor’s Honorary Guides will be leading hourly guided walks (at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm) around the local area, including the canal – starting and finishing in Sydney Gardens. There will also be opportunities to walk to Cleveland Pools and enjoy a stroll along the canal to Southcot Burial Ground in Widcombe.

There will be swingboat rides for children and traditional games to play. Craft activities are on offer, with the chance to make something to take away and to contribute to a very large ‘painting by numbers’ picture.  There will be some special Georgian characters to meet on the day.

The Kennet and Avon through Sydney Gardens.

The Kennet and Avon through Sydney Gardens.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council is delighted to join Bath Preservation Trust in welcoming everyone to Sydney Gardens for this family-friendly event on Sunday 13 April.

“World Heritage status is a tremendous accolade for Bath. It means we are recognised as being amongst the most significant cultural sites in the world, and one of the only entire cities to be designated a World Heritage Site. World Heritage Day is all about encouraging people to enjoy finding out more about the legacy of this very special place and the responsibility we share in ensuring that future generations can appreciate it too.”

Groups including the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, the Friends of Sydney Gardens, the Cleveland Pools Trust and Bath Preservation Trust will be on hand to tell visitors more about the fascinating history of Sydney Gardens, and the exciting plans for the future.

Bath City Jubilee Waits will entertain visitors with lively English music from 2-4pm. The group re-establishes the tradition of playing music at civic occasions which existed in Bath for much of the 18th Century.

sydney gardensAll of the day’s events and guided walks are free to all.  The ‘Explosive Easter Eggstravanza’ at the Holburne Museum is also a free event offering science and art activities inspired by the paintings of Joseph Wright of Derby as well as a giant egg roll!

Elsewhere in Bath, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy in New King Street will be offering free admission to children on the day and making Eighteenth century fashion dolls. At Southcot Burial Ground children can follow the Tree Sprite trail from 11-3pm.

For more information on the World Heritage Day events visit:

sydney gardens

Old soldiers……

Old soldiers……

no bike parking sign Well l was going to have a go at B&NES for being so un-cycle-friendly in posting notices on its Guildhall railings threatening fire and brimstone if you dare to chain your bike to their civic fencing – and then l saw a stands

Another line of cycling parking hoops on the pavement outside. You are forgive. I will happily use the new parking facility.

The more genuine bikes that do so – the fewer advertising-hoardings-on-wheels we will have to put up with.

bike rentalElsewhere – outside the Holburne Museum – the autumn leaves piles up against a solitary hire bike.

Never fear. The season is over but another notice informs us they will be back bigger and brasher than ever before next year.hire bikes

One little sadness tucked away behind a hedge in the Museum garden.

Some of the lovely lantern shapes – including a military chap – we saw paraded through town on November 28th.holburne museum

Well its one event we will have to wait another year to see again but meanwhile now we know where old soldiers go to quietly fade away.