England, Day 12: Bristol and Bath
After a restful night in Bath, It was back to Bristol, where Roger Leech guided us to Goldney Hall for the last leg of our trip. Also on the schedule were the SS Great Britain and the Holburne Museum of Art. Afterwards, we were treated to a delicious dinner at Woods Restaurant in Bath by a longtime friend of the Winterthur Program.
Above: Goldney Hall from the garden. Below: the left alcove of the grotto, covered in exotic shells and quartz.
Our first stop of the morning was the Goldney Garden and Grotto in Bristol. This beautiful garden was designed by Thomas Goldney III and includes an orangery, a gothic tower, and numerous garden follies. The grotto, which was added to the estate in the mid-18th century was certainly the showstopper of the visit. Although it was difficult to leave the quiet repose of this beautiful locale, our class ventured on to our next stop, The SS Great Britain.
The SS Great Britain
Completed under the direction of famed engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1843, the SS Great Britain is a former passenger steamship. From curator Rihan Tritton, we learned that this iron-hulled steamer was the world’s longest passenger ship when it was launched in the mid-19th century. The first of its kind to cross the Atlantic, it was part of the fleet of the Great Western Steamship Company. Now museum, visitors can walk through its decks and glimpse into the lives of the ship’s crew and passengers.
Curator Rihan Tritton gives the Winterthur Fellows an excellent presentation on the museum and the ship.
Although we would have loved to explore the SS Great Britain more thoroughly, it was off to Bath, where we met the Holburne Museum of Art’s Curator of Decorative Arts, Catrin Jones. Completed in 1799, The Holburne Museum of Art is located in the Sydney Pleasure Gardens and was the city’s first public art gallery. As part of our tour, Catrin Jones showed us the museum’s impressive collection of decorative arts, master paintings, portrait miniatures, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century porcelain and silver. We departed The Holburne ready for our last stop of the day, a party at the residence of a friend of the Winterthur Program.
Above: the Holburne Museum in Bath, England. Below: some of museum founder Sir Thomas William Holburne’s personal collection
Although our host certainly would be too humble to even suggest it, this was one of the most beautiful and diverse private collections I’ve ever seen. Despite the delicious dinner that beckoned at Woods, we found it very difficult to peel ourselves away! We had the most wonderful time at dinner, however, chatting with the new friends we’ve met in Bath. Thankfully, we have another fun day of exploring tomorrow!
By Kristen Semento, WPAMC Class of 2017