Our programme across all four Bath Preservation Trust museums in 2019 links to Capturing the Image.
We look at C18th portraits as ‘selfies’ and see how images have always been manipulated. Like us, the Georgians were obsessed with the perfect image and we explore the similarities with today through portraiture, photography and image control.
In more detail
In 2019 through exhibitions, performance, lectures, events and music, we explore the powerful medium of image-making: the effect the perfect portrait has on our well-being and sense of self, the tools and techniques used to capture an image, the science, vanity and illusion.
At No. 1 Royal Crescent we consider, in this modern age of instant photography and social sharing which is eroding our mental well-being, how the Georgians also manipulated and curated images to convey certain messages of lifestyle and character. Looking at the techniques they used, we will create our own manipulated images of historical figures to show how easy it is to create a fictionalised version of our lives today. The exhibition – called Image Control – is supported by new art commissions: we have commissioned three artists to create a portrait of Henry Sandford (the house’s first resident) to be displayed in the main house.
The intrinsic link between photography and architecture is explored further in 2019 at the Museum of Bath Architecture with a photographic exhibition running until 23 June. It shows the winners and runners-up from our 2018 Architectural Photographer of the Year competition, and the sheer creativity and skill of these amateur photographers is truly a sight to behold. The photographs are displayed in the centre of the museum, amongst the museum exhibits, and it is fascinating to see how humans continue to engage with the built environment through visualisation before reality. Between 29 June and 24 November the museum will show an eclectic display of artworks produced by various community groups and schools inspired by all our museums’ stories. The Taking on History exhibition will showcase work by older people from Age UK (Bath & North East Somerset), local families and schoolchildren, and mental health support groups such as @freshart.
At the Herschel Museum of Astronomy our exhibition Invisible Light: William Herschel and Infrared reveals how, in March 1800 using three thermometers, a prism and a piece of white card, William Herschel made one of science’s most ground breaking discoveries, infrared radiation. Used today in devices ranging from TV remote controls to space satellites, infrared is helping us to push boundaries in medicine, understand global warming, and photograph the furthest reaches of our universe. This year we explore how Herschel made all this possible through his discovery of invisible light.
Still linking to our theme of Capturing the Image, at Beckford’s Tower we reveal the many different ways William Beckford recorded sights without the use of photography. On his extensive European travels he visited famous cities and explored unusual landscapes. To record these experiences he collected wonderful items as souvenirs and kept written records. He also commissioned artists to travel with him to paint and sketch, while producing several such images himself. Pictures and Postcards: Beckford’s Souvenirs explores how Beckford captured his travels at a time before the invention of photography, and how others have recorded their visits to his tower in Bath.
Expect over 40 events including performances, lectures, workshops, music and activities.