Bath is home to several art galleries including the Holburne Museum of Art, the Victoria Art Gallery and the Museum of East Asian Art. These are all based on private collections that were left to the galleries and include fine art, old masters, silverware, English Delftware, Chinese jade. Collections are constantly being updated or contemporary works are often included in the changing exhibitions hosted at the museums and galleries.
The Holburne Museum of Art
The Holburne Museum of Art houses a collection of fine art paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture and porcelain that originated from Sir William Holburne’s 19th century collection. Paintings by Gainsborough, who spent 17 years in Bath himself, Guardi, Stubbs and Turner feature in the collection including the famous Byam Family – Gainsborough’s biggest portrait.
The building itself is attractive and was the eighteenth century Sydney Hotel set within its own grounds. The Holburne holds a range of changing exhibitions, lectures and concerts throughout the year. Collection highlights include works by Turner and Gainsborough. The Garden Cafe is on-site and wheelchairs are available to pre-hire. Entry is free (some exhibitions may be chargeable).
The Victoria Art Gallery Bath
The Victoria Art Gallery is a free public art gallery near Pulteney Bridge. It houses a range of oil paintings from the 17th century to the present day including works by Gainsborough and Sickert. There is also a collection of historic images of Bath and a range of changing exhibitions of contemporary art are held throughout the year.
The Museum of East Asian Art
The Museum of East Asian art was founded in 1993 based on a collection by Brian McElney that he collected while based in Hong Kong. The collection contains ceramics, bamboo carvings and one of the most comprehensive Chinese jade collections in the UK. There is an introduction video, and illustrated gallery guides to help you get the most out of your visit. You can even handle some of the collection or consult the museum library, both by appointment.