Places | The Victoria Art Gallery
Image: Pump Room, John Claude Nattes, 1804 Image: Pump Room, John Claude Nattes, 1804 Show image info

Pump Room, John Claude Nattes, 1804

Places

​Bath has attracted many artists since its spa became popular in the 18th century. Landscape painters, local artists and caricaturists were all drawn to the city.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge is one of very few bridges in Europe to have shops on it. Bridges with buildings on were common in Middle Ages, for example, the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, but by the 18th Century most had disappeared. In 1769 a rich local landowner, William Pulteney, employed the architect Robert Adam to build the bridge to link to his lands on the other side of the river.

Image: Marlow William, Pulteney Bridge

Roman Baths

The Romans, who arrived in Bath in the second half of the first century AD, developed Bath’s hot springs into a large bathing and temple complex. Since its discovery, the baths have been a popular subject for artists. 

Pump Room

The first Pump Room was built in 1705 for people to gather and drink the spa water, but this soon became too small. The present building was built in around 1793. 

King's Bath

The King’s Bath gets its name from being next to the royal lodgings in the priory precinct. It was so close that once Henry III had one of his knights thrown, fully clothed, from his apartments into the bath. The monks allowed people to use the baths for healing, and this continued after the monasteries were dissolved. The King’s Bath became increasingly popular and crowded, with men and women bathing together. This was seen as scandalous, particularly as many people bathed in the nude.

Royal Crescent 

The Crescent was built by John Wood the Younger right on the edge of the growing town, and completed around 1775. He and his father, Wood the Elder, were the two most important architects involved in the building of Bath.

Assembly Rooms

There were two assembly rooms in Bath from the beginning of the 18th century. The current Assembly Rooms were built around 1769, and were, at £20,000, the most expensive building built in the city. These rooms were spacious enough to allow dancing, playing cards and tea-drinking all to happen simultaneously.

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