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Brought To Light most Illuminating
A portrait of Miss Ellen Williams by Arthur Wilson Gay
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This diverse exhibition presents a veritable mishmash of paintings and furniture, some of which haven't seen the light of day for more than 30 years.

Royal portraits and romantic landscapes hang alongside 1960s op art and paintings of war-torn Bristol. They are tied together by the theme of the city; many of the artists lived and worked in Bristol or its surrounding areas.

An unusual series of portraits depicting long-serving employees of the Wills tobacco company, including Arthur Wilson Gay's Miss Ellen Williams, is displayed here for the first time. With the exception of a few smiles, the majority stare out from the canvases with austere, stiff-upper-lipped faces. Commissioned to express the company's gratitude to its faithful staff, these paintings offer a fascinating glimpse of a time when a job was for life.

Frustrated by the lack of good furniture on sale, Bristol-born designer Edward William Godwin decided to make his own. A choice selection of his stylish, late 19th-century pieces is presented here. Many items are ahead of their time, especially an elegant mahogany settee with Chinese-inspired lattice work.

Visitors may be disappointed by the exhibition's lack of sculpture, but this is still a great chance to see some of the City Museum's more curious items.

Until Aug 31, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, Queen's Road, Bristol. Daily 10am to 5pm, free. Tel: 0117 922 3571.
www.bristol.gov.uk

Image and text by Metro, UK
 


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