Holburne Museum

Holburne Museum
Great Pulteney Street






01225 388569

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
A photo of the outside of an impressive Georgian building
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This jewel in Bath's crown was once the Georgian Sydney Hotel, whose glittering society Jane Austen watched from her house opposite. It displays the treasures collected by Sir William Holburne: superb English and continental silver, porcelain, maiolica, glass and Renaissance bronzes.

The Picture Gallery contains works by Turner, Guardi, Stubbs and others plus portraits of Bath society by Thomas Gainsborough.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

We are open free of charge every day. Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am to 5pm. Closed 24 to 26 December and 1 January.

Admission charges

Permanent collection free of charge.
Charge for temporary exhibitions.

Collection details

Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
caricature of "convex" man and "concave" woman

High Spirits

  • 27 September 2014 — 8 February 2015 *on now

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.

Rowlandson's incisive and enduringly popular caricatures are celebrated in an exhibition from Royal Collection Trust. This will bring together some of the artist's finest prints and drawings from the important collection of his work, held in the Royal Collection.


£7.95 to include audio guide



photograph of gold triangle from The Nameless Grace installation

Holly Davey: The Nameless Grace

  • 18 October 2014 — 4 January 2015 *on now

Holly Davey has been researching the Museum's collection with a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters, especially Mary Ann Barbara (1802 - 1882), the last of the Holburne family line.

Working with objects from the collection and research surrounding the period, Davey's installation blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, encouraging the audience to reflect on and reanimate the hidden and largely forgotten existence of these women's lives.

This is a co - commission with The Holburne Museum, Bath and ICIA, University of Bath, with part two in the opening season of the new Centre for the Arts in Spring 2015.



photograph of ceramic plate with japanese style decoration and wave

Paul Scott

  • 1 November 2014 — 18 January 2015 *on now

In Paul Scott's hands, domestic ceramics mutate into subversive comments on our life and times. His expert manipulation of familiar motifs like the Willow Pattern gives his work special resonance and broad appeal. He also uses undecorated factory ceramics, called ‘blanks'; these are over-printed in the same blue as the Willow Pattern to dramatic effect.



Turner: Watercolours from the West

  • 10 January — 8 March 2015

This exhibition brings together watercolours by JMW Turner from five important art collections: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, the Holburne Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, The Wilson in Cheltenham and a private collection in Somerset.

Early works from 1791 to 1793, when Turner spent time in Bristol, are contrasted with later landscapes from the artist's travels round Britain and the Continent.

Sponsored by Arts Council England - Frameworks Project

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
1914 Plank discovered at the Holburne in 2009

Europe at War: A Hidden Record The Holburne Museum, Bath

  • 29 July — 31 December 2014 *on now

Three carpenters working on the panelling of the Museum’s picture gallery made a personal record at a pivotal moment in history. They marked a piece of wood with a pencil inscription of their names and a record of the outbreak of the war that read:
“France Servia Montenegrins English Japan Russia at war with Germany and Austria August 1914
W. Black G. H. Nation J. Pearce (carpenters) for Hayward & Wooster Builders”
The workmen signed the plank before setting it into the wall panelling. There was obviously some discussion of the situation: Russia caused some confusion, listed first on the enemy side before being crossed out and added to the list of allies.
The Museum’s 2009 project was the second major alteration to the building that began life as the Sydney Hotel, gateway to the eighteenth-century Pleasure Gardens. In 1914 the first major re-working of the building was underway, transforming the building into the Holburne of Menstrie Museum under the architect Reginald Blomfield.
Bath Postal Directories records reveal the residences of the three men. In 1919 William James Black, originally from Country Antrim, resided at 11 Melrose Terrace, Whiteway. George Herbert Nation lived at 23 Brunswick Street, moving to number 21 Brunswick Street by 1919. Joseph Pearce is recorded at 44 Maybrook Road, South Twerton in 1914 but but 1919 had moved to 3 Lyndhurst Road. Nation and Pearce both originally came from West Somerset. Too old for conscription, they were employed as carpenters until at least 1919. Woodworking was vital to the aviation industry, with three aircraft factories operating in Bath during the war.
Carpenters often marked their work in this way, knowing their words would be concealed as the building was completed. The personal message that was revealed in 2009 captures a momentous time in Bath’s history.
The Holburne’s record of this small historical footnote marking the centenary of World War I will be on display in the Museum’s Picture Gallery, where admission is free, until the end of the year.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Art Club


Take part in The Holburne Museum of Art's Saturday morning workshops for children aged 7-11 years. Sessions run 10.30-12.30 or 13.00-15.00. Each month's art and craft activities take a seasonal theme to explore a rull range of art mediums.

How to obtain

Booking is essential. Contact Sue Puntis on 01225 820829 or s.puntis@bath.ac.uk. Each session is £7.50.



Creative workshops once a fortnight for pre-school children and their adult to explore singing, storytelling, making things and being together. Babies welcome but one-to-one experience essential, so other siblings must be looked after elsewhere. Sessions take place on Mondays and Fridays alternately, with one session every fortnight at 10.30-12.00 or 13.00-14.30. Check the website for a comprehensive calendar of Toddlealong events.

How to obtain

Booking in advance is essential and can be done by contacting Sue Puntis on s.puntis@bath.ac.uk or calling 01225 820829.