Great Pulteney Street
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.
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.
Permanent collection free of charge.
Charge for temporary exhibitions.
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.
- Any age
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com or calling 01225 820829.