An exquisite collection of 270 differently-coloured Victorian drinking glasses (the Manning Collection) has been given to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery by The Art Fund.
The Council-run Gallery was successful in its bid to become the perfect home for the donated glassware, as well as securing the gift – via The Art Fund – of a classic Ben Hartley painting for its “Saved for Ever” exhibition, which runs until 27 November.
Jon Benington, Manager of the Victoria Art Gallery, said: “We are all absolutely thrilled with the glasses. It’s such a lovely collection, and will work very well with our existing Georgian and Bohemian glass.
“The Council prides itself on ensuring that its museums continue to entice people with fresh and individual displays. Everyone who has seen the Manning Collection so far has been full of admiration, and we all think that it will be a big hit with our visitors.”
Amidst the glistening technicolour spectacle from the abundance of Victorian drinking glasses, there is also Ben Hartley’s eye-catching “Milk Time”. Lovingly painted on brown parcel paper, and depicting the bond between a man and his cat, it perfectly captures a special moment in time.
Hartley was a committed Christian who loved the countryside and filled his pictures with vivid colour and humour. He was very fond of Bath and had five one-man exhibitions in the city before his death in 1996.
This new acquisition, a generous gift from Bernard Samuels via The Art Fund, forms part of the “Saved for Ever” exhibition. It also complements the “Ben Hartley: Another Look” exhibition which the Victoria Art Gallery is showing at the same time.
Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council counts it a privilege to hold this growing public collection in trust for all our residents and visitors to appreciate and enjoy.
“The ‘Saved for Ever’ exhibition gives thanks and recognition to the contribution of funding bodies such as The Art Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund. It is through their generosity and support that the Victoria Art Gallery is able to raise money to buy top quality works of art. We are also most grateful to the hundreds of people who have generously donated some fantastic works to the Gallery throughout the years.”
Art enthusiasts are reminded that on Tuesday 25 October from 7-8pm, in Bath’s Guildhall, Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, will deliver a free talk about the work of The Art Fund and its current campaign “Never Without Art” which helps museums and galleries – such as the Victoria Art Gallery – to obtain works of art for everyone to enjoy.
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.