Like many places around Britain, come May the 17th, the doors of all establishments are flung open to the public. For a gallery enthusiast like me, this comes as the very greatest of news. I’ve put together a group of Bath’s best and brightest exhibitions and events. At the end of each section, I’ve included a link to buy tickets, Bath is going to be very popular this year!
The Victoria Art Gallery-Bath Society of Artists 116th Annual Exhibiton
October 2nd to November 20th 2021
Gallery opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am-5pm. Last entry 4.30pm.
Now for the 116th year running the Bath Society of Artists has begun its exhibition at the Victoria Gallery in the heart of the city. It’s always been a huge amalgamation of mixed media, from sketches to sculptures, prints to paintings, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Bath Society of Artists was founded in 1904 with 26 members. Over many years the membership has grown from a few individuals to 120 diverse artists. Many well renowned 20th-century painters have presented with the Society including Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Gilbert Spencer, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden, William Scott and Howard Hodgkin.
The Holburne Museum Displays Rossetti’s Portraits
September 24th 2021- to January 9th 2022
Gallery opening times: 10am to 5pm
Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his brotherhood, the Pre-Raphealite’s, lived in an exquisitely bright world of colour, beauty and glamour. Whenever I see one of their paintings, I too, fall into that world and like many viewers am immersed in the beauty, symbology and mythology of their creations. I first discovered the great artist as a child, going through my grandmother’s fat coffee table books, full of glossy pages and the beckoning slender hands of goddesses like Persephone, or one of the fire-haired beauties these men crowned as their muses. So naturally, I squawked with joy when I saw the sign that advertised this exhibition, ‘Rossetti’s Portraits’, I do admit my poor friend was a little taken aback.
That being said his work is not just for those who already worship at the altar of Pre-Raphelite’s, but those who admire beauty in all its forms. They spin tales of their own, bringing light some of the most wonderful stories in history and also giving these muses a chance to be seen for who they are.
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a small group of English painters, poets, and art critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner. All these men came together to celebrate beauty in a world that was giving in to the smoke, dirt and churning cogs of the Industrial Revolution.
As a great lover of the Holburne Museum and a proud volunteer, I do recommend you visit, Rossetti and the private collection have much to offer to visitors of all ages and admirers of all materials.
The American Museum- Shooting Stars: Carinthia West, Britain and America in the 1970s
Open from: 21st May 2021 to 31st October 2021
Museum opening times: 10am-5pm
I grew up in the States, Oregon to be exact, so the American museum is a place I am well acquainted with. After I moved back to England when I was ten years old, my family and I celebrated the fourth of July at the American museum, along with many other American families living in the UK.
The American museum is one of a kind, the only museum dedicated to American history and culture in the world, with a focus on the 14th to 20th century. It was founded to bring American history and cultures to the people of Britain and Europe. So if you visit you’ll see everything from the beginnings of America and the constitution to the Praire Trail, Native American traditions, how each state differed from the other in their beginnings and the art that was produced in the early years of America.
Carinthia West was the model, actress and ‘It Girl’ of the 1970s, which gave her a unique standpoint on the period and the ability to capture the men and women of the time with her camera and from her memories. The exhibition is full of behind the scenes photos that come from her close and personal friendships with the likes of Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood, George Harrison, Eric Idle, Shelley Duvall, Helen Mirren, Neil Young, and Anjelica Huston.
Alongside the walls of photos, this part of the museum has been transformed into a time-capsule of the 1970s, it’s all there from the clothes that were worn in the period, to a fully functioning living room.
Fashion Museum Bath- Shoephoria!
May 18th 2021 – into 2022
Museum opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm. Last entry 4pm.
This is an exhibition designed to make any shopaholic or shoe hoarder squeak with joy, it certainly made me! Historians, fashion or exhibition enthusiasts and shopper’s alike will enjoy perusing the exhibition.
I enjoyed every moment at Shoephoria, as well as its an interesting exhibition set up. As you venture through the museum the first section brims with sumptuous clothes from 1800-1900, and shoes from the time are dotted about the glass cases. Then you pass through a darkened hallway where three bright cases of Manolo Blahnik shoes glare with all their bright colours. The Spanish fashion designer has had a residence in Bath since the 1980s!
The next room leads you to the wall of wearers, men and women whose footwear shapes their very lives and personalities, as well as the footwear that has led them away from terrible disasters and even concentration camps. The greatest of all the rooms has seven glass cases full of shoes, all categorised, from ‘work’, to ‘dance’ to ‘movement.’ You’ll see the shoes of all the greats from British royalty, to silver screen princesses, dancing queens and kings, our brave first responders, awesome athletes and strong survivors.
A few of the exquisite Shoes to see at Shoephoria are…
- The oldest shoe in the Museum’s collection: a red velvet mule with gold and silver embroidery, from 1690s.
- Queen Victoria’s elastic-sided boots from the 1850’s, by shoemaker Joseph Box.
- Queen Mary’s diamanté bow shoes from 1930, made by the celebrated British shoemaker Rayne.
- The famous writer Noel Coward’s monogram-embroidered velvet slippers from 1967.
- Shoes worn by iconic British ballerinas Margot Fonteyn and Alicia Markova.
- Shoes and prosthetics worn by seven-year-old Harmonie-Rose Allen from Bath, a junior ambassador for Meningitis Now.