Sun Up by Gillian Ayres

This painting dates from Gillian Ayres’ Bath Academy teaching period and is the first of her works to enter the gallery's collection.


Oil on canvas
122 x 91.5 cm
Art Fund grant:
£10,500 ( Total: £31,200)
Acquired in:
Rowntree Clark

Ayres taught at the Bath Academy of Art, one of the most adventurous art schools in the country, for 7 years. Her contemporaries included Robyn Denny, Adrian Heath and her friend Howard Hodgkin. In this work, Ayres uses action painting, combining gestural brushwork and the throwing of pigment at the canvas with the free use of turps as a colour thinner, allowing her to stain, dribble and splatter. The large blue ‘disc’ at the lower right is suggestive of a partly silhouetted orb, the moon perhaps. The resultant effect is to convey a sense of day chasing night in dynamic form.


Education Authority, West Midlands, from 1960s; Bonhams, 2010; Rowntree Clark.

Venue details

Victoria Art Gallery By Pulteney Bridge, BATH Somerset BA2 4AT 01225 477233

Entry details

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Daily, 10.30am–5pm Closed 25, 26 Dec & 1 Jan