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.
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.
- Family friendly
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.
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)
- 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.
Great Pulteney Street