18 November 2014

The Restoration of 'The Garden Court' by Sir Edward Burne-Jones


 Joanna Brown hands the cheque to Dr Jenny Gaschke Curator of Fine Art
(Photo against the background of The Garden Court courtesy of BMAG)
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s appeal to raise £18,000 for the conservation of a wonderful painting, The Garden Court by Edward Burne-Jones, has been 100% successful, thanks to the Friends. The museum had raised £8,000 from generous individual donors but needed to find another £10,000 to complete the conservation of the badly damaged artwork. The Friends of Bristol Art Gallery Executive Committee agreed to run an appeal to the membership, which was sent out in late July 2014, and within two months 142 individual Friends have donated £10,000 between them.

10 September 2014

'Tranquility - Scholar's Study Room Set 1' by Wing Qin



Tranquility – Scholar’s Study Room Set-1 consists of a set of small items for the scholar’s desk: a brush rest, seal, brush washer and brush tester made from mixed black and white glass.


This scholar’s set provides a perfect complement to the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1911) scholar’s desk items already part of Bristol’s Far Eastern Collection, such as brush washers and brush rests.

21 August 2014

Purchase of Mourning Rings at Auction for the Applied Art Department

FOURTEEN MOURNING RINGS, all inscribed for members of the Smyth family of Ashton Court and dating between 1726 and 1848

Mourning, or ‘motto’ rings were distributed to relatives and close friends at funerals. They were usually paid for out of the estate of the deceased and are often mentioned in wills. 18th-century examples tend to be simple gold and black enamel hoops, later examples are more ornate. They are inscribed with the name and dates of the deceased and sometimes incorporate hair. Today, when death is largely a taboo subject, they remind us that in earlier times death was dealt with in a more open fashion.

This is a remarkable and very rare group representing 120 years and several generations of one family.  It shows how styles changed as well as interesting details such as the use of white enamel rather than black for an unmarried woman. There are a couple of duplicates, albeit in different sizes, but the collection was sold as a whole.

9 July 2014

The Lottery at the Queen Bess, Bristol




The Lottery at the Queen Bess, Bristol
Oil on canvas 15x23 inches / 38x59cm




This fascinating picture, showing a lottery taking place in a Bristol public house around the mid-1820’s is an intriguing insight into a type of gaming that has been practised in various forms and at various times throughout this country’s history.


Recent research has confirmed that a Queen Bess Tavern stood in St Nicholas Street in Bristol and was pulled down around the years 1860/1.

24 March 2014

DiscoveryPENS - Now Active!

DiscoveryPENS give those with impaired sight the opportunity to enjoy visual arts through the medium of recorded descriptions which they can listen to through headphones as they make their way through galleries. The PENS recognise a mark next to the exhibit which tells them which description to play (a bit like scanning a barcode).

The Friends responded to the call for helpers to describe paintings onto DiscoveryPENS (a replacement for the earlier Penfriends), and they have all made recordings along with those made by staff from the Museum. The PENS are now in use in the French Gallery, having been “launched” by Paul Sullivan, who leads on access and inclusion for the Museum service, on 12 March.

5 February 2014

The Refurbished Victorian Gallery 6


Friends Chairman Joanna Brown and President Francis Greenacre joined Fine Art Curator Dr Jenny Gashke and 185 Friends members at the special preview event ahead of the opening of the newly refurbished Gallery 6 (Victorian Art)



The refurbishment and re-display of the gallery was made possible thanks to a £50,000 donation from The Friends of Bristol Art Gallery, which included a generous bequest from Mrs Marjorie Price, a long standing Friend.