We have been in Bath since Christmas and although we have made multiple trips to IKEA on the eastern edge of Bristol we had still to visit the city proper until last week when we finally hopped aboard the train from Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads. It takes about 25 minutes to walk to the station and only between 13 and 19 minutes for the train to reach Bristol, depending on which service you catch; the two cities are that close although a world away in style and size.
While waiting on the platform at Bath Kate was studying the advertisements and insisted on a picture of these two. On the left is one that should be prominently displayed all over Australia to remind everyone of the value of immigrants to society. While the one below is a little more sickening in its hypocrisy.
Note the “warning” prominently displayed “Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage”. Now they tell us, when it suits them to be doing the “right thing” after they have totally stuffed the economy by doing just the opposite. Banks in Australia were far more regulated than elsewhere in the Anglo-Saxon world, thank god. The housing market did not tank and no banks required bailing out. In fact, for all my UK readers, the then Labor government under Rudd and Treasurer Swan gave all Australians $600 to spend instead of doling out money to banks. Try that George Osborne if you dare.
We were prompted to make this first visit to Bristol due to Liz and Dave being there at a Caravan Club site right on the water which is soon to close. Our day began with a short walk from Temple Meads station to the Arnolfini Arts Centre for coffee and cake, naturally. Once again, we have not been to Bristol for many years. Previous visits were to take Tom to such things as the S.S. Great Britain. I snapped this picture of the ship as we returned to the Arnolfini at the end of the day. The main objective of the day was a visit to the RWA, the Royal West of England Academy where there were currently two exhibitions of drawing although we did spy some free street art on the way by none other than local resident “Banksy”.
The first show was an open submission exhibition entitled “Drawn” that focused on contemporary artists drawing work. The second, which I personally enjoyed more, was a selection of drawings from the The Ingram Collection of Modern British and Contemporary Art featuring works by Edward Burra, Cecil Collins, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Mary Fedden, Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth, Keith Vaughan, Henry Moore, John Nash, Ceri Richards and Stanley Spencer, and many more.
It was particularly interesting to see drawings by the sculptors in this list such as Elizabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Drawing is especially important for sculptors as they have to prepare by visualizing in two dimensions what will be created in three dimensions. Needless to say these artists produced some excellent drawings.
The artist that most caught my attention, however, was Edward Burra whose distinctive style I found very compelling. The example here is fairly representative of his approach to the figure and seems to me to display a strong sense of composition. Although this looks like a painting it is actually a drawing with pastels I think.
The Academy itself was high up on the hill leading up to Clifton and having viewed the exhibitions we headed off into that area to enjoy more of the of the Regency style of architecture that one might find in Cheltenham. We had been surprised at the mixture of styles in the city with some streets looking almost as if they could be in Bath while others more like Cheltenham and yet others in contemporary styles. Some samples below include the Council Chambers, the Academy and some of the streets around the Clifton suspension bridge.
The extraordinary sweep of Royal York Crescent, which was reputed to be the longest terrace in Europe, was especially impressive. Something to compare to the Royal Crescent in Bath in its way.
The day was delightfully rounded off by a trip back up the waterway to the Arnolfini on a funky little ferry that boasted a rather unusual crew member with sparkling blue Doc Martins, colourful pantaloons and bright red hair. The ferries mooring ropes were a lovely shade of blue which added to the charm. By the time we arrived back the water’s edge was hopping with life and activity, compared to the quiet of the morning, as people emerged from work for evening socializing. We will definitely be returning to explore Bristol further.