2019 Exhibition Programme


George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field
8 February – 6 May 2019
The Holburne is the only European venue for a major retrospective of the work of George Shaw (b. 1966), one of Britain’s leading contemporary painters. The exhibition will feature about 20 paintings and 50 drawings spanning Shaw’s career from 1996 to the present, including several new works never seen in the UK. The former Turner Prize nominee and National Gallery Artist-in-Residence focuses his work on the Tile Hill estate, a post-war development on the outskirts of Coventry where he grew up, and the ancient woods surrounding it. Steeped in modern and historic fine art traditions, Shaw’s work alludes to 20th-century painting and photography, and the legacy of such European masters as Titian and Poussin. Rather than using traditional oil or acrylic paints, Shaw prefers the thick, quick-drying enamel paint used by model airplane and car enthusiasts, creating a hyper-realistic effect. The exhibition originated at the Yale Center for British Art in the USA.

Vuillard: The Poetry of the Everyday
24 May –15 September 2019
Beautiful decoration and ornate surfaces; the pathos of the intimate interior; implied dramas and suppressed or unstated emotions: these are all themes that arise from the work of Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940).
The French artist was one of the founder members of the Nabis (the name derived from the Hebrew for prophet).The group, influenced by Gauguin and Degas, concentrated on pattern and distortion to emphasise psychological meanings beyond appearances in ordinary domestic subjects. Including some prints and works on paper, as well as oil paintings, many rarely seen from major private collections – mostly of interiors -the exhibition focuses on the first 10-15 years of his mature career when he developed an art in which emotionally charged suggestions of narrative are balanced by a concern with the abstract qualities of the picture.

Rembrandt in Print
4 October 2019 – 5 January 2020
As well as being an undisputed master of the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt was also one of the greatest printmakers of all time. Rembrandt used a characteristic scratchy, fine line to create images remarkable for their power of expression. He also reworked some of his plates, demonstrating his pursuit of atmosphere in his images and a canny recognition of the financial potential of the print. This selection from The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – one of the world’s greatest collections of Rembrandt’s etchings – will include many of his most iconic images, including The Three Trees and The Hundred Guilder Print. It will juxtapose works of different scale and feeling, and a variety of subject matters, from self-portraits through religious scenes to female nudes.


Henri Matisse: Master of Line
October 2019 – January 2020
One of the undisputed masters of 20th century art, Matisse is renowned for both the exquisite delicacy of his drawn line and the intense brilliance of his colour. These qualities are wonderfully demonstrated by his prints. This exhibition draws together mostly of nudes and interiors, etchings drawn together by the legendary London dealer John Kasmin which offers an intense immersion into the achievements of one of the greatest draughtsmen of all time.

Why Museums Matter
7 February – Monday 6 May 2019
For the past 3 years the Holburne, supported by its Bath Museum partners, has led the Pathways to Wellbeing Programme. This supports local people with mental health and loneliness issues, along with the homeless, to engage with culture and heritage through a range of creative activities. Why Museums Matter will showcase artwork created during the project. The display will incorporate the response to the statement Why Museums Matter from the public as well as artists and public figures.

Lauren Child: the art of illustration
2 May – 8 September 2019
Step inside the imaginative dream-worlds of Lauren Child, award-winning author-illustrator and Waterstones Children’s Laureate. Best loved for her fictional series Charlie and Lola, Lauren Child’s trademark quirky illustrations charm and amuse children and adults alike. This display traces Child’s creative influences and processes including her love of doll’s houses and her use of collaging, textiles, miniature sets and props. Alongside prints from her original books, this display explores Child’s re-imaginings of fairy tales and will include a trail through the Museum, its garden and beyond.

Collecting Craft
May – October 2019
This display is a celebration of Charmian Adams lifetime of collecting contemporary crafts, highlighting the best of British silver, textiles, ceramics, furniture, glass and printmaking, often commissioned directly from the makers. The display offers a unique perspective on 20th- and 21st-century art, and features makers including Edmund de Waal, Lucie Rie and Nicola Tassie.

Coming Home: Ira Aldridge
October 2019 – January 2020
Coming Home is a major new project which will see the National Portrait Gallery lend portraits of iconic individuals to places across the UK. The Holburne Museum will be hosting the c.1826 portrait of Ira Frederick Aldridge after James Northcote. Aldridge was an American actor who was the first black actor to play Othello in Britain, and who famously played to great acclaim at the theatre in Bath.


Grayson Perry: The Early Works
From January 2020
Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s best-known and well-loved artists. He works in tapestry, collage and ceramics to explore a range of important themes, including issues of gender, identity and social class, presenting through his art a unique perspective on the world. As the result of a public campaign, Grayson Perry and the Holburne will be reuniting many of his earliest ceramics, those created between 1983 and 1993, that first made Grayson Perry’s name. The resulting show will shine a light on Perry’s experimentation and exploration of the potential of ceramics.

The Holburne Museum’s mission statement is ‘Changing Lives Through Art’, signalling its commitment to opening up the enjoyment of art to people of all ages and from every walk of life. The Holburne was founded in 1882 with the gift of Sir William Holburne’s collection of 16th and 17th century Italian and Dutch paintings, silver, sculpture, furniture, porcelain and diverse objets d’art of national and international significance. That founding gift has been augmented with a collection of 18th century paintings by such artists as Gainsborough, Lawrence, Ramsay, Stubbs and Zoffany. Set within the historic Sydney Pleasure Gardens, the Museum reopened in May 2011 after ambitious renovations and with a new, award-winning extension by Eric Parry Architects. The Holburne has since secured a national reputation as an outstanding museum which holds critically acclaimed exhibitions. Its programme of exhibitions, commissions and events sets out to bring to Bath great art of all periods and from around the world, seeking to set the art of the past in dialogue with contemporary practice in exciting and dynamic new ways.