Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bath / The Holburne Museum

We've lived in Bath for exactly three years now, and we have loved getting to know this city. Full of character, culture and beauty, it really is a wonderful place to live and bring up a child. As we venture around this city of ours, I thought I'd create a little series to record the best places to visit in the area, just in case it's of any use for those planning a trip in the future. I'll start with our neighbourhood museum - The Holburne Museum
The Holburne is a petite art gallery situated just ten minutes walk along the majestic Great Pulteney Street from Bath's City centre. The Georgian building at the front hides a beautiful modern extension at the back, which connects the museum with Sydney Gardens just behind (where Jane Austen used to take her morning walks and is great for free tennis courts, train spotting, walking along the Kennet & Avon canal and going to the children's playground). 
The main collections in The Holburne are free to visit, and a lovely spiral staircase takes visitors up to the higher levels. I have to admit that the first time I visited the museum, I wasn't bowled over by the paintings - they are a touch too classical for my tastes. But now I return regularly with B in tow, I find that I'm drawn to the works more and more. There's something wonderful about reappraising what I've written off as a boring landscape or portrait through the eyes of a toddler.
The museum always has a special collection on display, and currently it has Characters - a collection of portraits by modern artists including Freud, Auerbach and Bacon. The special collection has a charge but I was lucky enough to be sent an Art Fund Art Pass which meant I could visit this exhibition for next to nothing, and I was so glad that we did (thanks Art Fund). There are some superb and bold examples of portraiture on display - some quite outside the box of what we think of as a portrait. My favourite was the Paula Rego piece. I adore her work, and B and I happily sat in front of this one for some time (B declared it was his favourite too!).
Also in the museum is a chance to view Paul Emsley's portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge although I must confess that I think it is pretty horrid. Her skin is so grey - she looks like she's had a 40-a-day habit for years. And B got to have a go at making his own portrait - here is what he came up with. 
If you're visiting Bath, I'd really recommend a trip to The Holburne. The cafe is very swish indeed, it has a lovely little gift shop, and the surrounding park is gorgeous.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Gathering Leaves

The leaves have begun to make their descent from the trees, turning to beautiful shades of yellow, red and brown, and cascading to the ground. Near to our house is Henrietta Park which houses the most perfect trees and will soon be covered in a carpet of leaves. Yesterday, we headed there in the dying sun to gather special specimens to decorate Autumn Crowns.
Tucked away at the back of Henrietta Park is a sensory garden, complete with giant Rosemary bushes and a pond filled with fish. Completely contained within iron railings, I can sit on a bench whilst B safely heads off to explore all the little pathways and wooded areas. He enjoys the freedom of disappearing from my sight, only to return minutes later to check I'm still there.
When we arrived home, we attempted to make our Autumn Crowns. It turns out the leaves didn't like the glue and wouldn't stick to the cardboard so I threaded them onto ribbon instead and we wore our leafy headbands with pride!