Date Published: 

Mon, 03/06/2019

A new exhibition at the Bath & North East Somerset Council-run Victoria Art Gallery will showcase 60 outstanding artworks from the 1940s, including some fascinating images of wartime Bath.

War and Rumours of War: 1940s British prints and drawings from The Hepworth Wakefield will open on Saturday 6 July and run until Sunday 15 September 2019.

The exhibition is drawn largely from The Hepworth Wakefield’s exceptional collection and allows us to revisit a decade of anxiety, austerity and idealism that resonates strongly with our lives today.

Artists featured include Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland, Barbara Hepworth, Vanessa Bell and John Piper.

Many of the works in the exhibition were commissioned for the nation through the War Artists Advisory Committee. The Committee sought to provide opportunities for artists to create ‘not simply a record of the facts, but of what the war felt like’ for the education of future generations. These pictures, many by women artists, reveal the realities of war for ordinary people on the home front.

The part that the city of Bath played in this story centres on the Baedeker Raids of April 1942. The resulting devastation was documented by artists including Norma Bull, Leslie Atkinson and Clifford and Rosemary Ellis. These exhibits from the Victoria Art Gallery’s collection enable visitors to appreciate the impact of the war on local residents.

Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “We look forward to seeing work by leading artists of the 1940s on show at the Victoria Art Gallery. Anyone with an interest in the history of Bath will be fascinated to see images of wartime bomb damage to the city – for example a painting by Norma Bull of a huge crater in the middle of the Circus. Admission to the exhibition will be free for local residents with a Discovery Card.”

The above works have been supplemented by loans from the Ingram Collection of Modern British Art, the Radev Collection and a private collector.

Lunchtime exhibition tours

Lunchtime exhibition tours will take place every Thursday from 18 July to 5 September, 12.30pm-1pm. Free to Discovery Card and ticket holders.

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