Holburne Museum

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.
Unknown Artist: A market Women with Fruit. Eighteen century. Pastel on paper. 81.3X66 cm © The Holburne Museum

A Handful of Dust

  • 13 February — 18 September 2016 *on now

As part of our ‘100 Years Here’ celebrations, the Holburne will be exhibiting some of its rarely-shown but exquisitely beautiful eighteenth-century British portraits in pastel. This mixture of china clay, plaster and pigment is little more than coloured dust, yet when applied to paper the effect can be magical.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


The Holburne Museum
Great Pulteney Street

Additional info

The Museum is fully accessible and we offer spaces within our pay & display car park for Blue Badge holders



George Stubbs (1724-1806), Horse Frightened by a Lion, 1770, Oil on canvas © National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery

Stubbs and the Wild

  • 25 June — 2 October 2016 *on now

Today George Stubbs (1724-1806) is known and loved for his anatomically accurate and sensitively realistic portraits of magnificent horses and their supporting cast of dogs and humans. In his own time, the artist’s public image was largely based on his depictions of wild animals in paint and print.

Throughout his life he was fascinated by how animals are built, not just by their outward appearance, and he studied their anatomy tirelessly. It was this interest that led him beyond horses to other animals, at a time when many exotic new mammals were arriving in London from Britain’s expanding colonies. Moose, zebras, yaks and even the remains of a kangaroo were brought home as valuable curiosities and their owners encouraged Stubbs to study the animals and record them for posterity. Although many of them were intended primarily as zoological studies, Stubbs’s paintings of wild creatures are also portraits that capture the behaviour and character of living beings.

As a subject painter, Stubbs’s most successful essays in the sublime also explore the wild, not as a source of curiosity but as a distant, untamed land where nature is merciless and well-fed predators rule. His images of a horse attacked and then devoured by a lion, with variations in different media and reproductions in print became Stubbs’s signature work.

This exhibition will include some of the most charming and fascinating of the animal portraits, grand fantasies, and exquisite prints and drawings. It is part of a series of special events to celebrate 100 years since the re-establishment of the Holburne Museum in Sydney Gardens.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly





Linda Brothwell, The Missing, 2016 © Linda Brothwell

Linda Brothwell: The Missing

  • 6 August 2016 — 2 January 2017 *on now

In a new commission On the Table, this pioneer of contemporary British craft skills will create a playground of textures and colours in stone, wood and metalwork in response to the most intricate works in the Holburne Museum’s collection. In a dramatic exploration of materials, Brothwell’s work will be displayed alongside the elaborate carved wooden, gilt bronze and hardstone plinths on which Sir William Holburne displayed his porcelain and bronzes.

Many of Holburne’s plinths were separated from their objects in the 20th century, leaving an alluring and eclectic collection of empty mounts. Brothwell will create the missing parts: wearable pieces in silver and quartz displayed on larger sculptures of boldly coloured marble, ebony and gold, forming playful vignettes of rare and precious materials.



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.
Needle felting workshop with Jenny Barnett

Needle Felting Lions

  • 10 September 2016 From 10:30am

With Jenny Barnett
Inspired by Stubbs’s paintings, learn how to needle felt and create your own wonderful lion or lioness sculpture. Using felting needles and wool fleece, repeatedly pushing the barbed needles into the wool, makes the fibres tangle together and create solid 3 dimensional forms. You will be able to model the wool into shapes, join them together and turn the wool fleece into your own charming sculpture.
Jenny Barnett makes, a needle felt maker and illustrator, specialises in needle felt sculpting, commissions, workshops and creative books. She is an experienced freelance sculptor working for the giftware industry including Coalport, Wedgwood, and Genesis Fine Arts.





Strings of Joy

Striving for the Divine

  • 13 September 2016 Until 1:50pm

A selection of songs by Schubert and chamber music by Beethoven – early Romantic music with the profound longing for higher worlds. The Danish trio Strings of Joy will perform in accurate Regency costumes. The ensemble consists of soprano Maria Johannsen and her daughters, Anna and Giuly. They have performed together for six years, and their tours have taken them all over Denmark, to St. Petersburg in Russia, and several times to Bath and Oxford.





John law


  • 24 September 2016 7-9:30pm

John Law (Piano)
David Daniels (Visuals)
Patrick Dunn (Performance of visuals)
Prize-winning, internationally acclaimed jazz pianist and composer John Law, returns to his classical roots with a re-working of J.S.Bach’s famous masterpiece the Goldberg Variations. Bach’s complete score, with the addition of John Law’s newly composed, ambient opening and closing compositions, has been stylishly visualized, the film operated live to fit the live piano performance. The resulting experience is a deeply moving one that goes right to the essence of the music contained in this epic masterpiece.
John Law, a prize-wining classical piano prodigy, is known as one of Europe's was adventurous and challenging contemporary jazz pianist/composers, having played all over Europe and North America, appearing at over 50 festivals and major concerts halls, and made over 30 albums. Award-winning digital animator David Daniels has toured widely, as a live artist for musicians such as Bryan Adams, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd





George Stubbs (1724-1804), Two Leopards.1779. Oil on oak panel. 90.5X137.4cm. Private Collection

Stubbs and the Wilderness

  • 30 September 2016 7-8pm

Stubbs was a dogmatic advocate of artists working directly from nature yet he had little or no direct experience of wild landscape. His landscape backgrounds were artificially derived from Old Masters and from what he saw as he travelled to Newmarket Heath and to his wealthy patrons’ estates of woods and landscaped grounds. He didn’t go to any of the wilder parts of Britain and his foreign travel was limited to a short stay in Rome, which he reached by sea. In this talk Robin Blake looks at how Stubbs devised the illusory settings for his wild animal pictures.

Robin Blake is an art writer and biographer of Anthony Van Dyck and George Stubbs. He has written on a wide variety of other subjects and is the author of the Cragg and Fidelis series of mystery novels set in 18th century Lancashire.

Café and Stubbs and the Wild exhibition open from 5pm – 9pm, as the lecture co-incides with the Holburne Up Late!


£10/£14 (£14 which includes one exhibition admission ticket)



Cath Hodsman The cycle of a privet hawk moth

Butterfly Metamorphosis

  • 30 September 2016 10am-4pm

This watercolour painting workshop will use art to pay homage to the transformation of larva to butterflies. Cath Hodsman and course participants will discuss how this mysterious process manifests itself, in butterflies and moths. Each fascinating stage of metamorphosis will be studied in all its beauty and wonder and then captured in a unique, intricate and beautiful watercolour painting. Each student will have access to their high-powered microscope. Please bring your own watercolour sets and fine brushes to this class, and a desktop easel if you have one – all other materials provided.





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.