For the first time, this exhibition explores an important but little-known period in the history of Chippenham, or 'Little Bath'.
As its nickname suggests, Chippenham was a miniature version of its larger more famous neighbour. Its streets were lined with elegant Georgian townhouses, concerts, plays and assemblies were held there, and it even had its own Spa. Yet behind its genteel facade, Georgian Chippenham was a hotbed of gossip and scandal.
Drawing on its own collection and loans from several other museums and art galleries, Chippenham Museum brings to life the Georgian period when the town was known as Little Bath. The exhibition includes paintings and prints, portraits of some of the important figures of the day, and furniture, costume and ceramics from the period.
Highlights include a set of satirical prints on the loan from the British Museum, satirising the fall of Walpole – a direct result of the election held in the town in 1741. Shown being purged of his misdeeds in The Political Vomit for the Ease of Britain, Walpole is seen in the act of vomiting, having been given an emetic using a drenching horn. In his stream of vomit can be seen the word Chippenham.