Sometimes I am impressed, sometimes I'm very impressed, and sometimes I'm overwhelmed. The thought and care that has gone into this refurbished gallery is impressive.
This gallery is situated majestically at the end of a long Georgian street from Pulteney Bridge in Bath. You cannot miss it unless you actually close your eyes. It is surrounded by greenery which I'm sure looks very nice in the summer and don't forget to go to the rear of the building where you will find a small park. Good for walking the dog.
This Gallery has so many good points I have to list them.
THE STAFF. Mostly volunteers who were very enthusiastic and I can almost say excited about the possibilities of this gallery. If I can describe it as manageable. The enormous galleries like Tate modern and MOMA in New York can be overwhelming in size. This one has got it just right. it's a bit like a meal, you go away satisfied but not bloated.
THE GALLERIES – there are about six and the wallpaper and background to the paintings and the layout of the paintings is exceptionally sensitive. They are not too close together or too far apart and the hangers have been sensitive to the subject matter. The condition of the paintings was much better than the average and was a pleasure to look at.
THE LAYOUT – they have definitely made the best use of small space and I love the mezzanine effect in one of the galleries.
SPECIAL FEATURES - if you look on the second floor by the grand piano you will see a compilation by children of what they think it would be like to be the subject of picture. e.g. 'I am 16-year-old and dressed in finery'. It is lovely to see the imagination of children.
They had a very special exhibition ( see images) what can be done with plaster of Paris. Here was I thinking that the main use for plaster of Paris was in strapping up your leg when you broken it, but here we have examples of use coffee cups, gloves, household utensils, anything you can think of.
There was a very small exhibition of 3-D photographs of Picasso, very rare, made in the 1950s which needed 3-D glasses available in a box.
There is a library and study centre in the basement which I did not visit; there is a very well-organised bookshop which also contains books about historical Bath.
There was also an opportunity for children to write poetry.
On the ground floor there is a restaurant cafe which has been leased to benugo. Seating is very pleasant and the food fresh. I had a quiche and rocket salad for £8.95 and a tall cafe latte for £2.50. I thought the quiche could have done with another menu item but the quality was to die for as was the coffee which was quite exceptional. I would have charged £6.95 for the quiche but hey if they can get £8.95 for it then why not? butIt has a delightful aspect (see photos) and on a summers day you can sit outside and eat.
I make it a practice now to speak to the communications and PR people about what I'm going to write and I had the pleasure of meeting Katie Jenkins and gave her positive feedback about the establishment. I do wish more people would do this. Most people do appreciate feedback even if it is so-called negative. They will probably bring it up at the next meeting.
Like the Tate Gallery, there are also a huge variety of lectures, musical recitals, and workshops. This place deserves to be taken seriously so well done Katie and all the staff, and the director Alexander Sturgis. Anyone contemplating a new gallery would do well to come here and use it as a model or at least a starting point.
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