Advantages Plenty of events going on; interesting and varied exhibitions
Disadvantages Admission charge; not a huge collection on show
Having visited a wonderful little exhibition of Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, I was hoping there might be something else interesting to do in the area. My son surprised me by saying that there was another art gallery a little further down Queen’s Road, so I thought it was worth going to investigate. The gallery turned out to be the Royal West of England Academy of Art, which I hadn’t heard of before.
The Royal West of England Academy is a charity, receiving no funding from either national or local government. They therefore have to charge for admission, but we hadn’t had to pay to see Leonardo’s drawings so I didn’t object. Normal adult ticket price is £5, and concessions are £3. Annual membership is £15. Children under sixteen do not have to pay. There is a free booklet at reception listing current exhibitions and events. I asked whether photography was allowed in the gallery and was pleased to hear that it was.The main exhibition area is on the first floor, and there is a lift that serves both the first floor and the basement. We chose to climb the rather grand staircase. At the top we were greeted by a charming seagull wearing Doc Marten boots, a work by an artist named Filthy Luker. Above this was a small but vicious-looking animal named a Squilligator by the same artist. Through the huge window we had a good rear view of Hirst’s “Charity” figure, and we were able to go out onto the balcony for a closer look and to take a photograph or two. There are tables and chairs on the balcony, and if you visit the cafe on the ground floor you can choose to come and eat outside if you wish. If you are only visiting the cafe and the shop you don’t have to pay admission, but I’m not sure whether you would be able to go upstairs to the balcony.
Coming back inside, we admired Jason Lane’s Pelican before going through to the main galleries. At the time of our visit, there was a temporary exhibition by Josef Herman, a Polish artist who fled from Warsaw through Brussels and Glasgow to London during World War II. More to our liking were the intricate engravings of Trevor Haddrell RWA SWE, who trained at Bath Academy of Art and taught at schools in Bristol before becoming a professional artist. Many of his works are of Bristol itself, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but there were scenes of Venice and other foreign destinations too.
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Pages: 192, Hardcover, Redcliffe Press Ltd
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