A compact gallery that packs a big punch, Bath’s art museum houses over 1,500 decorative arts treasures, including a display of British oil paintings from the 17th century to the present day.
Victoria Art Gallery opened in 1900 and was named to celebrate Queen Victoria's 60 years on the throne. The large permanent collection is displayed on rotation and includes many works by artists who have lived and worked in the area, such as Thomas Gainsborough and Walter Sickert. Two further gallery spaces host a busy programme of temporary exhibitions.
What to see
You can ogle the great and the good from Jane Austen’s time – Bath became an important centre for portrait painting in the 18th century as many of the wealthy visitors who came to the city to enjoy the famous spa also sat for a picture.
In the 20th century, the innovative work being made at Bath Academy of Art put the city on the map again, and a number of these artists are represented, including Gillian Ayres and Robyn Denny.
Among the hundreds of pieces of decorative art in the collection is a wonderful array of coloured glass, donated through Art Fund, which includes perfume bottles and drinking glasses. The 110 scent bottles are being displayed in their entirety for the first time.
Did you know?
Thanks to an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign, Victoria Art Gallery will bring the sounds, sights and delights of late 19th-century Bohemian Paris to Bath in a blockbuster exhibition in early 2020. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the Belle Époque – the performers, dancers and courtesans – through the iconic colour posters of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Alfons Mucha, Pierre Bonnard and others.
It will be the gallery’s biggest show yet, and the only chance to see this fabulous collection in the UK.