15 November 2015

Winner of The BAfM Annual News Letter Competition

As many of you will be aware, the British Association of Friends of Museums (BAfM) holds an annual news letter competition. It is up to the editors to submit their entry, and earlier this year, our May 2015 edition was submitted by our editor Pam Sayer, the first entry since she took over the role and the format was dramatically changed.

The entries are judged in three groups depending on the size of the membership for each Friends organisation. We fall into the middle group.

7 August 2015

Thanks to Friends Sleeping Beauties are being revealed

Last autumn an appeal to the Friends raised an amazing £10,000 towards the conservation of The Garden Court, a beautiful painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Conservation work is now unveiling the true beauty of Burne-Jones’ sleeping maidens. However, the long restoration path has presented a number of challenges along the way for conservators Hannah Tempest and Rachel Howells.


Conservators Hannah Tempest and Rachel Howells carefully removing the old varnish. ©BMGA

22 July 2015

The Friends Archive

The Search Room
Image courtesy of BMGA
The Friends of Bristol Art Gallery Archive of Minutes and Bulletins was recently transferred to the Records Office.

It is available to be seen by visiting the RO searchroom, and asking for the collection by name, or by the reference number 45560.

The Collection will not appear on the RO’s online catalogue until the next update which is scheduled for September 2015. Even then it will only list the items within the collection, not scans of the actual items themselves.

28 April 2015

Slave's Prayer Sampler

Some months ago, Karin Walton, Curator of Applied Art, submitted a case to The Friends to fund the purchase of a Sampler, which was worked in coloured silks on linen with the image of a kneeling slave and a verse from the ‘Negro’s Prayer’. It was signed and dated ‘Martha Hague’s Work Decr 15 1837’.

4 March 2015

The Newly Refurbished Gallery 4

Thanks to The Friends of Bristol Art Gallery who provided the funding, the newly refurbished Gallery 4 was officially opened on Friday 6 February 2015.

The theme of the Gallery is The Age of Enlightenment covering Art during the "long 18th Century" - on display are Continental and British paintings and Applied Art objects, dating from the late 17th and early 19th centuries.

12 February 2015

Roman Cameo Glass Fragment Purchased for the Bomford Collection of Ancient Glass


The Bomford Collection recently bought, with help from the Friends of Bristol Art Gallery and the Friends of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives, a beautiful piece of Roman cameo glass.  Thank you for your support.

The popularity of cameo glass developed and waned in the space of about 75 to 100 years in the first century. It is known from about 20 complete pieces and many fragments.

9 February 2015

2013 - 2014 Conservations



'Donkey Ride’ by Eva Gonzales: the problems with this conservation were described in the November 2012 edition of The Bulletin. In the event it has taken far longer than hoped to complete the work, and following Carolyn Lamb’s decision to leave the service in the summer, it is unlikely that work can be re-started on this painting until Spring 2015.

‘Genoa Lighthouse and the Temple of Minerva Medica’ by Claude-Joseph Vernet 1746.

2 January 2015

The Bust of Conrad Finzel




The sugar refinery of businessman and philanthropist Conrad Finzel dominated the centre of Bristol in the 19th century, until the late 1870s, on the site now being redeveloped as Finzel’s Reach. Sugar refining was among the most significant industries in Bristol in the 18th and 19th centuries, but Bristol Museums & Galleries has little in the way of artefacts in its collections to reflect this. Finzel made a major contribution to the technology of the industry and ran the largest refinery in the city. His philanthropic work included supporting the Muller Orphanage.

This large bust was carved by ‘G. Papworth of London’ in 1856 and stands on an oak pedestal, made from timber reclaimed from the 17th century Fourteen Stars tavern demolished to make way for the refinery.