A vast collection of exquisite art which has been donated to the Victoria Art Gallery will be celebrated for all to enjoy this autumn.
Saved for Ever, which runs from 8 October until 27 November 2011, tells the story of how many generous people have bequeathed wonderful works of art to the Council-run gallery for residents of Bath and North East Somerset to enjoy in perpetuity.
The exhibition shows how by collecting and displaying top quality works, the Victoria Art Gallery gives people access to art of a calibre that few can have in their homes. This makes the Gallery an important educational resource as it allows great art to be appreciated by everyone, free of charge.
Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council holds this public collection in trust for all our residents. We are able to share these gems thanks to the contribution of hundreds of people who generously donated works of art to the Victoria Art Gallery.
“It is a mark of the distinctiveness of Bath and North East Somerset that many of the most loved pictures on display once hung in the homes of local people. These individuals gave their paintings to the Gallery so that they could be enjoyed by the public forever. This exhibition is an opportunity for us to acknowledge their generosity and thank them for their public spiritedness.”
Saved for Ever reveals the fascinating story of how the Victoria Art Gallery looks after works of art, and how paintings conservation restores damaged works to their former glory – making them fit to go on public display. It also highlights the important contribution made by local people to this nowadays through the Adopt a Picture scheme.
One of the benefactors, Alice Dorothea Henderson, wrote to the Victoria Art Gallery from her home in Bath in February 1946 to say: “I feel so pleased and happy knowing that the things I live with will be housed and cared for in such a lively art gallery and beautiful old city.” Her gifts included Watersplash by Henry La Thangue – the most popular picture in the Gallery.
The exhibition includes other old favourites donated many years ago, such as George Frampton’s gorgeous painted firescreen depicting St Dorothea and St Elizabeth, as well as Gainsborough’s portrait of Captain William Wade.
It also celebrates recent donations such as a work by Paul Klee, one of only a handful in the country by this great artist, and also a fabulous collection of jewel-like coloured wine glasses, recently bequeathed to the Victoria Art Gallery and never before on public display.
A new 72-page guidebook, Victoria Art Gallery Highlights – featuring many of the works in Saved for Ever – is being launched to coincide with the display and will be on sale in the Victoria Art Gallery for £4.95.
The exhibition also reveals the contribution of funding bodies such as the Art Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund. It is through their generosity and support that the Gallery is able to raise money to buy top quality works of art.
The Victoria Art Gallery, near Pulteney Bridge in Bath, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 1.30pm to 5pm and closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more details call 01225 477233 or visit the Gallery’s website http://www.victoriagal.org.uk.