Holburne Volunteers

Welcome to the Holburne Museum's Volunteer web page.

Due to popular demand we are briniging our Volunteers this page to keep you all up to date with all that is going on at the Holburne.

Information regarding Volunteering and Volunteer oppotunities will also be posted here.

Below you will also see you can view the latest rota (including last minute changes) The Volunteer Policy and Handbook.

If there is anything you would like to see added to the page please do not hesitate to get in touch at volunteers@holburne.org

Also don't forget you can all stay in touch via the Volunteers Facebook page by logging into your Facebook account and searching for Holburne Volunteers

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Nameless Grace. An installation by Holly Davey

Wirth Gallery, 18 October 2014 to 4 January 2015

Who is Holly Davey?
·       Holly Davey is an artist who lives and works in Cardiff. 
·       She works with ideas surrounding memory, object and archive.
·       Since graduating from Goldsmiths College, London, in 1998, she has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in the UK and internationally.

What is the background to the exhibition?
·       The exhibition continues the Holburne’s commitment to displaying the work of contemporary artists who have studied our collection and ‘responded’ to it
·      This is a co-commission with the Holburne Museum and ICIA, University of Bath.  Part two will be exhibited in the opening season of the University of Bath’s new Centre for the Arts, Spring 2015.

What was Davey’s approach?
·      The installation has been inspired by the Museum’s collection.  
·      By studying the Holburne’s archive and discussing with our curators, she developed a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters, especially Mary Ann Barbara (1802-1882), the last of the Holburne family line.

·       In her will, Miss Holburne ensured that the family’s collection and name were bequeathed in trust to create the Museum.
·       Working with objects from the collection and research into the period, Davey’s installation blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction.  It reflects on these women’s hidden and largely forgotten lives by reanimating them.

What is in the exhibition and why?
There are four elements to the exhibition
·        A film on the landing by Davey titled ‘Never leaving. Never arriving.’  The film is shot from the side of a ferry looking down on to the water.  The sea is a metaphor for Davey’s suggestion that the Holburne’s sisters’ lives were perhaps unfilled and asks ‘were [they] able to escape, disappear or fade away?  Or were you caught in an endless sea. Never leaving, never arriving’

·       A framed gold triangle from Mary Ann Barbara’s scrap book.  The gold edges physically frame nothing but Davey sees the emptiness as the potential for possibilities in the lives of the sisters Books. 

     There are two shelves of books.  Mary Ann Barbara’s books were sold with parts of the Holburne estate around 1882.  This is a recreation of her library, based on the original probate inventory.  The books in the display are not the actual books that Miss Holburne owned but they are the correct titles. Davey has included these in the display to show visitors the literary tastes of Miss Holburne.

·       Printed text on a plinth.  This text is written by Davey and visitors may take a copy.  Davey’s words are her explanation of the exhibition.

Friday, 17 October 2014

News and Rota online for October / November

Hello Everyone
I hope that you are all well?
Firstly, thank you to those of you who have stepped forward in the last month to help fill some of the gaps on the rota. It has been much appreciated. We still have a few coming up so if those of you that have not been able to help this month could possibly have a look at next month we would be eternally grateful.
We have been facing a bit of an issue of late with regards to Radios. They have gradually gone AWOL? Could you all have a good look around your homes to see if perhaps you have accidently left the building with one in your coat pocket. The radios play a vital role in the security of the collection, please look after them. In addition never leave the radio lying around in a chair or on a bench. Not only is this leaving you, your colleagues and the collection at risk but the radios are expensive and we can not afford to keep replacing them.
Dare we say it but Christmas is coming. See news below on our Christmas shop. We will of course be throwing the annual staff/Volunteer Christmas Party. The date will be sent out to you all very soon.
To view the current rotas please click on the link below 
We hope to see many of you at the Dutch Paintings training session on Monday 27 at 6.30pm
Thank you all so much for everything that you do
Spencer, Steven, Georgie, Josh


Paul Scott:  Confected, Borrowed and Blue.
Volunteer Training: Tuesday 4 November 6.30pm
With Catrin Jones (Curator of Decorative Art)

Please sign up to this training lecture where we will be looking at our brand new Ballroom table installation by Paul Scott.

In Paul Scott's hands, domestic ceramics mutate into subversive comments on our life and times. His expert        manipulation of familiar motifs like the Willow Pattern gives his work special resonance and broad appeal.

Fascinating Facts and New Loans
Volunteer Training: Monday 24 November 6.30pm
With Amina Wright & Catrin Jones.
This fun fact packed lecture will arm you with all the tools you need to engage all of visitors in our extensive collection.

For both events Please RSVP to volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty manager know on shift

Christmas at the Holburne

We are very much looking forward to Christmas here at the Holburne. This year we will be introducing Christmas trees on the balcony, the garden Café and on the ground floor. Garlands will run up the bannisters of our stair case and the shop will spill out into the neck area. The shop will offer our visitors lots of beautiful decorations and sticking fillers to  purchase.

We will need a few extra hands once the extra shop space opens on November 10 and would be really appreciative if anyone of you would be kind enough to nominate an extra shift to help out.

We also hope to have a number of late night shopping events here and we would love to keep the galleries open so that exhausted Christmas shoppers can enjoy a quite evening in the galleries or enjoy mauled cider in the garden café. We may even have a choir performing some Christmas classics  

Christmas at the Holburne will run from 10 November to 6 January 

The Annual Holburne Lantern Procession

This years lantern procession will take place on Thursday 20 November. Those taking part in the procession gather at the Museum from 5.30pm and the procession is led away from the Museum from 6pm.

We are looking for Volunteers to come along and join in the fun helping with stewarding and carrying lanterns.

If you are able to help you will need to be available at the Museum from 5pm. Don’t forget to wrap up warm and bring a big smile.

If you think you can help please get in contact at volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your duty manager know on shift

New Faces!

We are very happy to announce that our new Head of Development has now been appointed.
Trish Roath will be relocating from Australia to join the team here at the Holburne.

Trish has been a professional fundraiser for 21 years and most recently has been working for the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne.

I am sure you will all join us in welcoming Trish to the Holburne family. Her first day will be Monday 20 October

www.holburne.org gets a face lift!

On the 10 November this year we will be launching a brand new website for the Holburne Museum.
We have spent the last 5 months working with web designer Stuart Moran from the Web Foundry on the new site and we are very excited to be sharing it with everyone from the 10th.

As well as all the normal features we will also be introducing online booking for all of our events, our collections database will be much more advanced and it will also feature an online shop.

There is still a lot of work to do with the collections database (only 3000 items to up load ) so please do bare with us.
As ever we would love to hear your feedback. Please do let us know what you think by emailing your thoughts to Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org

Gallery Guide

Over the next few months we are going to be changing the look and feel of the Volunteer gallery Guide. The Guide currently Is very dense and not very user friendly. 

We are working with the curators to produce something that is not only easy to use but also very informative.
Information will be concise and given in a way that will be useful to you when helping visitors in the Galleries.
We are hoping to trial just a few pages in the Picture Gallery in the coming months to gauge how easy you find it to use and your opinions on the layout and its contents.

This guide is for your use. It is there to ensure we are able to engage all visitors in our collection. Therefore your feedback is vital. We look forward to hearing from you after the trial.

Holburne Teen Forum

Since our re opening it has always been an ambition to create a Holburne Teen Forum. It was always thought that this kind of initiative would allow us here at the Museum to gain a better insight into how we communicate and engage with the teenage audience.

Before we can go ahead with a proposed forum we are going to be running a focus group session to gauge, what the Teen Forum should be and how it should work.

If  you are a volunteer and aged 15—19 we would love to hear from you. Please contact Spencer at s.hancock@holburne.org or drop in and see him when you are next on shift
You feedback and input is vital for the creation and success  of a Teen Forum.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Holburne News 7 October 2014

Hi Everyone

I hope you are all well? This is just a quick interim newsletter with some information on things coming up imminently here at the Holburne.

On Thursday and Friday this week (9 & 10 October) We welcome back Bath Spa Universities MA Ceramics and textile students as they begin to install their exhibition of new and thought provoking work.

The exhibition entitled Muse: the collection inspires will ask our visitors to take a second look at pieces from the Holburne’s permanent collection through the eyes and work of the MA students.

Each of the pieces offer a contemporary twist within the collection galleries. Their work responds to individual pieces on display in the collection and highlighting objects not usually displayed and in some cases the work comments on Sir William himself.

Details of which pieces will appear in each gallery are as follows 

Adele Christensen, Baubles (on display in the Cafe windows)
Charlotte Asprey, Holburne's Treasure (
Posnett Gallery by window)
Elise Menghini, Ceramic Chandelier (Mezzanine) and Wallpaper, 3D wallpaper (Mezzanine stairwell)
Paul Gunning, Hello You Tinkers! Chris Harris as Widow Twankee (Picture gallery)
Rupert Brakspear, No. 44, ceramics inspired by the Ruba’i (poem) of Omar Khayyám (ground floor bottom of stairs)
Richard Winfield, Blind Eye (installation in central Holburne display, Posnett gallery)
Wen Hsi Harman, Sculpture Spoons (first floor neck)

Kate Bond, Synthetically Bloom, Mezzanine, suspended in windows
Carole Wadham, series of Four hats (Orpheus, Themes & Variations, Allegorical Hat, Fan with Attitude) plus photo prints of models wearing them, Ballroom, windowsills
Bronwen Gwillim, Hide & Seek, large fan, mezzanine stairwell
Jayne Goulding, Digital Craft, mannequin in ground floor neck

Also this week we see the arrival of some new paintings in the Ballroom and Picture Gallery. These were highlighted to you in the last newsletter.  We are really looking forward to seeing them go into the galleries at the end of this week.

On the 18 October we open a new exhibition in the Wirth Gallery
Holly Davey
The Nameless Grace
18/10/2014 - 04/01/2015

Holly Davey has been researching the Museum's collection with a particular interest in the three Holburne sisters, especially Mary Ann Barbara (1802 - 1882), the last of the Holburne family line.
Triangle from the Holburne sisters' album, card with embossed foil border, after 1817
Working with objects from the collection and research surrounding the period, Davey's installation blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, encouraging the audience to reflect on and reanimate the hidden and largely forgotten existence of these women's lives.

This is a co - commission with The Holburne Museum, Bath and ICIA, University of Bath, with part two in the opening season of the new Centre for the Arts in Spring 2015.

Volunteer Training
Jennifer Scott’s first Volunteer Training lecture will take place on Monday 27 October 6.30pm.
Jennifer will be talking about the Dutch paintings in our collection and giving you some top tips for you to pass on to our visitors.

Please RSVP to this event as soon as you can if you can have done so already.

Introducing Paul Scott
Tuesday 4 November 6.30pm
With Catrin Jones, Curator of Decorative Arts
Join Catrin as she introduces our new exhibition Confected, Borrowed and Blue...an installation by Paul Scott.

In Paul Scott's hands, domestic ceramics mutate into subversive comments on our life and times. His expert manipulation of familiar motifs like the Willow Pattern gives his work special resonance and broad appeal. He also uses undecorated factory ceramics, called ‘blanks'; these are over-printed in the same blue as the Willow Pattern to dramatic effect.
Please RSVP to this event by emailing volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty Manager know on shift

New Volunteers

I hope that you are all getting to know some of our new recruits that joined us after their induction on the 19 September. We are still recruiting and will be running another induction session on the 17th October. So you will have lots of new faces and many new names to learn.
That said we still have some gaps on the rota and let’s be honest this would not be a proper newsletter unless we asked if you would be kind enough to have a look over the rota on the BLOG and see if there are any gaps you could fill. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Volunteer Profiles are Back!

Our popular section Volunteer Profiles is back up and running. 
This is a great opportunity for you all to get to find out more about all of your colleagues

This month its Monday Afternoons very own Lisa Delaney 
To read more about Lisa just click the link below


If you would like to be included in our Volunteer Profiles section just drop Spencer a line at

Friday, 19 September 2014

New News and Rota is now online (19 September 2014)

I hope that this latest edition of the Newsletter finds you well. 

Dare I say it but Autumn is drawing in, however here at the Holburne we still have an exciting programme to brighten your days. 

We hope that as many of you as possible can make the Volunteer Training on our exciting new exhibition “High Spirits”: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson on Friday 26 September at either 10.30am or 2pm. If you have not yet signed up to one of these session please do so ASAP. 

I hope that most of you now have met our new Director Jennifer Scott. Jennifer will be at the High Spirits training to say ‘Hello’ and will also be leading our October Training session on Dutch Paintings (see below)
We are also welcoming two new exhibitions this month, firstly Holly Davey’s work will be on display in the Wirth Gallery from 18 October and Paul Scott’s beautiful ceramics will be on display on the Ballroom table.
Your latest rota can be found by clicking the link below. 
Phew! Its going to be a busy few months for all of us.
As always, thank you all so much for all your hard work and support.

Spencer, Steven, Georgie and Josh 

Dutch Paintings Volunteer Training Session

With Director Jennifer Scott
Monday 27 October 6.30pm

Join our new Director Jennifer Scott as we delve deeper into our collection of Dutch Paintings. This fascinating training lecture will provide you all with more interesting facts to Pass on to all our visitors.

Please sign up to the training session by emailing  volunteers@holburne.org or by letting your Duty Manger know on shift. 

Sunday sign up - HELP!

Historically we have always suffered with Volunteer numbers on our Sunday shifts ,which has always been a problem for us.
As you are aware we are currently in the midst of a large Volunteer recruitment to overcome this. However despite this  we are now in danger of perhaps having to shut galleries on some Sundays due to this shortage.

We have a done a few sums and have worked out  that if each of you would be kind enough to perhaps fill just one gap (either afternoon or morning) between now  the end of the year we would have a full team. That’s just one Sunday shift between now and Christmas.

If you feel that you would be able to help out please let you duty manager know on shift or email

Thank you so much everyone, you support is always so gratefully appreciated

Four new paintings on loan

A family in Wiltshire has very kindly agreed to lend three British portraits and an Italian landscape to the Holburne for a year. 

The portrait of Mr and Mrs Purvis by Arthur Devis is similar to the Holburne’s own double portrait, Alicia and Jane Clarke, but about fifteen years earlier.  Captain (later Rear-Admiral) Charles Wager Purvis (1715-1772) married Amy Godfrey in 1741, shortly before Devis painted their portrait.  Although the Purvis and Godfrey families came from Suffolk, Devis has placed them in an idyllic and rather exotic setting, a terrace overlooking a picturesque sea.  Mrs Purvis, seated at a table, is holding a bunch of grapes, suggesting that she has accompanied her husband on his travels in the Mediterranean.

Those with a long memory may recognise Sir Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of Elizabeth Foley from the 2002 Holburne exhibition ‘In the Public Eye’.  This is an unfinished study for a three-quarter length portrait now in the USA.  It was painted in 1770, nine years before Miss Foley married the poet and biographer Dr. Charles Symmons (1749-1826), who was Rector of Narberth at the time.  She outlived her husband, who died in Bath in 1826.

The Shy Child, a late work by Reynolds’s rival George Romney (1734-1802), is also unfinished.  Like Reynolds and Joseph Wright, Romney was outstandingly gifted as a painter of children.  The Shy Child is not intended to be a portrait, but a study of a child’s behaviour.  In the latter part of his life, Romney made countless studies of mood, gesture and psychology, working closely with models including the famous Emma Hart (later Lady Hamilton).  This little girl may have been one of the children Romney befriended in the 1790s when he spent much of his time in Hampstead.  As a swift study of a little girl’s timidity, it is very similar to Wright’s 1770s portrait of his daughter Anna Romana which was such a memorable feature of our exhibition earlier this year.

Finally, we have a landscape by Roman artist Andrea Locatelli (1695-1741).  The view is dominated by a castle, with on the left a glimpse of the sea similar to Captain Purvis’s, a group of pastoral figures and a flock of sheep, and on the right a river flowing from a mountain past a church, with a pair of goats refreshing themselves on its banks.  Like Panini, Locatelli sold much of his work to British Grand Tourists.  The wide format of this canvas suggests that it was intended as a decorative overdoor, so we will be hanging it above one of the Ballroom doors.

 We will be installing the paintings in the Picture Gallery and Ballroom Gallery on 9 and 10 October, so please bear with us while the galleries are closed.  At the same time, we will be removing Zoffany’s Love in a Village from display, as one of our supporters has generously offered to cover the cost of its conservation. 

Please note: the owner has asked us not to reproduce these paintings and therefore we are unable to print them in the newsletter.

Have you seen the Muffin Man?

A group from the Silhouette Collectors’ Club recently came to visit the Edouart exhibition and to see some silhouettes from the reserve collection with Amina.  One of our guests, Cynthia McKinley of York (who deals in silhouettes) recognised the dwarf depicted by Edouart as John Millbank of Cheltenham, alias Johnny the Muffin Man. 

Contemporaries describe him as about 3 feet 6 inches high, wearing a tall beaver hat and a white apron.  He carried muffins in a big square basket covered in a cloth to keep them warm.  He also carried a stout stick as he was often teased by children.

  All of these are clearly visible in Edouart’s silhouette.  We know Edouart was very busy in Cheltenham during the late 1820s and early 1830s, often moving between there and Bath according to the season. 

Johnny the Muffin Man was obviously something of a celebrity, as there are so many images of him.  You can read more about him on Cheltenham Museum’s website, http://www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk/Docs/Muffin%20Man.pdf


One of our most successful Family events is back this October. The BIG DRAW is a national event across Museums and galleries and we have always had a massive turn out and a lot of fun.

If you are able to help steward the galleries and welcome more than 600 people on the 5 October we would love to hear from you.

See below some pictures of the Duty Mangers and Volunteers form last years super hero inspired BIG DRAW