Image: The permanent collection in the Upper Gallery Image: The permanent collection in the Upper Gallery Show image info

The permanent collection in the Upper Gallery

Large Upper Gallery

The first floor gallery has been restored to its Victorian splendour and shows displays from the Council's own art collection.

Our permanent collection on the first floor explores 500 years of European art and artists and is free to everyone. The collection spans hundreds of years of art history, from our beautiful, jewel like Adoration of the Magi from the 1480s, to Silence by Howard Hodgkin, painted in the early years of this century. Still life, portraiture and landscapes are all included in the display.

Image: La Thangue Henry Herbert., Watersplash

Bath was a centre for portrait painting in the late 18th century. Many of the wealthy visitors who flocked here to enjoy the spa also sat for a portrait. Some of the best portrait painters of the day came to Bath, most notably Thomas Gainsborough who worked here for many years.

More recent paintings with a local connection are those by artists who worked at Bath Academy of Art in the 1950s and 60s. The best and most talented painters of the day were attracted to this, one of the country’s best art schools of the day. On display here are, among others, works by Bath Academy teachers Gillian Ayres and Robyn Denny.