Gainsborough and the Theatre, The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2, until 20th January 2019

Nathaniel Dance (1735 – 1811), ‘True but every goose can…’, c.1781, pencil, black chalk and coloured washes on laid paper©The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

There is much to enjoy in this exhibition that links the world of 18th century theatre in Bath and London through portraits by Gainsborough, works on paper and contemporary theatrical ephemera. The portraits – hung correctly at chest height  – are “real” people rather than elegant society portraits as is often the case with Gainsborough’s depictions of musical and literary friends.

Mrs Siddons, Thomas Gainsborough, 1785 © The National Gallery, London

Mrs Siddons, Thomas Gainsborough, 1785 © The National Gallery, London

Among them you will discover David Garrick, Thomas Linley, Auguste Vestris and Sarah Siddons. Near to the latter’s ravishing portrait are some contemporary small sketches of the work which are interesting since as a print was never made of the portrait those making the drawings had to have seen the original work. Sarah Siddons is buried in the churchyard (open space) near Paddington Green Church just near the Marylebone Flyover in London.

I was especially delighted to meet up with Richard Tickell once more as I had seen his beautiful portrait on visits to Phoebe, Lady Hillingdon many years ago. It is an image that has remained in my memory ever since. Tickell was born in Bath and married Mary, Thomas Linley’s daughter and so were they a part of this group of friends which also included Sheridan.

Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Linley the elder, c. 1770, oil on canvas. By Permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Linley the elder, c. 1770, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 63.5, DPG140. By Permission of Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

The singer Petula Clark in her 1998 poem ‘The Theatre’ says in the last verse:

“So here we are in this hallowed place, sharing a special time and space.
I hadn’t realized before, but maybe that’s what the theatre is for,
to bring us together, to make us see that the magic is not just some fantasy
tho’ we all need some fantasy.
No, the magic you see is in you, in me.
It’s a funny thing, the theatre. “

Well to my mind this exhibition does just that with the 18th century theatrical world of Gainsborough’s Bath and London.

‘The sounds of Music’

Brian Graham – Towards Music, The Salisbury Museum, The King’s House, 65 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EN, until 12th May 2018


30 Fanfare SMALL 72dpi

Brian Graham Fanfare for the Common Man for Aaron Copland, 2014 Mixed media on board 26cm x 34cm

In this show of some forty works the Dorset-born artist takes us on a journey into history with his ideas of how music-making and dance may have started. These painted reliefs reflect his long-held interest in the worlds of archaeology, anthropology and science and this juxtaposition with their titles which are either taken from notable works or figures in music and dance fire the viewer’s imagination to picture the past. It’s a show where – as the song says – “the melody lingers on”!

1 La Mer small 72dpi

Brian Graham La Mer for Claude Debussy, 2014 Mixed media on board 34cm x 26cm

Music & Flowers in Tenterden

I thought I would share this special evening with you:

Academy of Ancient Music
7:30pm, 23rd May, 2015
St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden, Kent

A Quartet from The Academy of Ancient Music is coming to St Mildred’s Church on Saturday 23rd May at 7:30 to open the Flower Festival that will be abundantly celebrated in St Mildred’s Church and all over Tenterden Town.

The AAM has performed for music lovers on six continents for more than 40 years and has thrilled millions through its extensive catalogue of recordings. It is very exciting to have a quartet from the Academy, led by their leader Pavio Beznosluk, with Rebecca Livermore, Jane Rogers and Andrew Skidmore, playing for us on the opening night of the Flower Festival. They will give us a concert of “irresistible colour and exuberance” to celebrate “The Jewel of the Weald”.

Tickets are £15.00 each and can be bought from and Smiths Florist at £15.00 each.

The Programme:
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
String quartet in G minor Op.74 No.3
Allegro – Largo Assai – Menuet Allegretto – Allegro Con Brio

W. A. Mozart (1756-1791)
String quartet in C major “Dissonance”
Adagio/Allegro – Andante Cantabile – Menuetto Allegro – Allegro Molto


Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Quartettsatz in C Minor
Allegro Assai

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String quartet in G major Op.18 No.2
Allegro – Adagio Cantabile – Scherzo Allegro – Allegro Molto, Quasi Presto