The Arts Society Bristol

Suggestions for some interesting reading or viewing.. Please let us know your suggestions for books, films, websites other members may be interested in.

JULY IDEAS - an excellent local exhibition, let's go travelling and brilliant book suggestions from members..

Space For Creativity

at The Create Centre - July 20-29

A vibrant exhibition celebrating paintings produced by a group of 11 women artists working with Laurel Smart from March 2020 to June 2021. Isolated yet together, meeting on zoom, they formed a strong connection, sharing ideas which encouraged their creativity resulting in a wide range of styles and genres. Click here.

become a Virtual Traveller

with The Arts Society Connected - on now

Join the AS virtual journey around the world this summer with a new lecture programme. Follow in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg and explore 24 destinations over 80 days - from wherever you are. Be guided by our Accredited Lecturers as you enjoy the arts from around the globe. No steamer, railway or elephant required. Click here.

Simon Reeve Step By Step

Step by Step

by Simon Reeve

Recommended by an ASB member and shortlisted for the 2019 Edward Stanford Travel Memoir of the Year Award - Simon's memoir describes his journeys across epic landscapes, dodging bullets, walking through minefields and being detained for spying. His travels have taken him to some of the most beautiful, dangerous and remote regions of the world.

Roy Strong

Types and Shadows: Diaries 2004-2015

by Roy Strong

This 3rd and final part of his diaries - is very gossipy but it contains much detail about his garden The Laskett that he created with his wife Julia Trevelyan Oman in Herefordshire. Some members of the society visited there (& Hereford Cathedral) for a day trip about 6 years ago. It also shows a photograph of our controversial speaker Tobias Capwell!


The Colston statue: What next?

at Bristol M shed - From June 4

The statue of Edward Colston toppled on June 7th 2020 will form part of a temporary display surrounded by placards from the protest, as well as a timeline of events. Have your say on what to do with it! Click here.

Canaletto: Painting Venice

Holburne Museum - Open now

Twenty-three paintings, originally commissioned for a collection at Woburn Abbey, and created over nine years, this exhibition also explores his life and work.
See here.

The Vikings - from Odin to Christ

The Vikings - from Odin to Christ

by Martyn Whittock & Hannah Whittock

Recommended by an ASB member: Vikings - were they tall red-headed men, raping and pillaging and ransacking? Or were they pious Christians giving gold crosses to churches? Or perhaps both?

National Trust 125 Treasures

National Trust 125 Treasures

by Dr T Cooper (Curatorial and Collections Director)

This book illustrates highlights from the NT's vast collection, from Roman sculpture to 20th-century design. Examples of decorative arts, furniture, textiles and objects with fascinating stories. Details here.


Netsuke: miniature masterpieces from Japan

online from Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

See the detail of 75 of these tiny masterpieces from their collection of over 200 Japanese netsuke, depicting a huge range of subjects from Japanese popular culture. Created in the 1700s and 1800s, each netsuke is unique. Click here.

Recommended by Jonathan Foyle

(Picture:Public domain via Wikimedia Commons, Book Cover)

as recommended by Jonathan Foyle

in April's lecture “The Paradise Garden in medieval manuscripts”

"The Oak King, the Holly King and the Unicorn: Myths and Symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries" by John Williamson
"Flowers Of The Renaissance" by Celia Fisher

From Brycgstow to Bristol in 45 bridges

as recommended by some of our "walkers"!
Discover the details behind each of Bristol’s bridges. Why was it built? What was involved in its design, engineering and construction? In this book Jeff Lucas tells the story of each of the 45 bridges which span the main waterways of Bristol between Avonmouth and St Anne’s, and which can be crossed on foot.
See here.

Grayson's Art Club - the curator's tour

at Manchester Art Gallery. During the lockdown Grayson Perry brought the nation together through art in his Channel 4 TV series and some of the art produced is available in this exhibition. Alongside the public’s artworks, the exhibition features pieces by "amateurs" Jenny Eclair, Noel Fielding, Harry Hill, Joe Lycett, Vic Reeves, Liza Tarbuck, and artists Jeremy Deller, Antony Gormley, Maggi Hambling.


The Lost Pianos Of Siberia

by Sophy Roberts. This is a story of music in this fascinating place, a three-year adventure tracking different pianos to find one whose history is definitively Siberian. The journey reveals a desolate land inhabited by wild tigers and deeply shaped by its dark history, yet one that is also profoundly beautiful — and peppered with pianos. Don't miss the most beautiful website with wonderful videos. Click here.

Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe

Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe

by Judith Herrin. Winner of The Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize 2020 celebrating the best in non-fiction writing. How scholars, lawyers, doctors, craftsmen, cosmologists and religious luminaries were drawn to Ravenna where they created a cultural and political capital that dominated northern Italy and the Adriatic.

Explore the Raphael Cartoons

at the V&A.The Raphael Cartoons are a set of seven full-scale designs for a series of tapestries created by Raphael, considered one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance. In 2019, as part of the project to mark the 500th anniversary of Raphael's death, the V&A collaborated to carry out an ultra-high-resolution recording of the seven Cartoons in colour, 3D and infrared. See the amazing results here.

Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things

at the National Portrait Gallery. Something we probably all missed - but some interesting short videos on the Spring 2020 exhibition which explored the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton. Lovely ideas for those special photography portraits. Click here.


Bristol Miscellany

by Michael Manson. Perhaps not exactly art, but almost certainly interesting to every "Bristolian", this book will be published by Bristol Books on March 22. From hidden rivers, medieval walls and public protests to links with slavery, prisons and the treatment of mental illness, Michael’s search for the soul of the city has resulted in a ‘curiosity shop’ compendium of interesting snapshots of the city. See Bristol Books for details.

Pitt Rivers Museum

Whether you went on our Study Day to this amazing museum or not, explore the history of these extraordinary objects with comedian Josie Long. This virtual tour (courtesy of The Art Fund) asks what we can learn from them and how the museum is tackling some of the challenges surrounding their collection. From a Tahitian mourner's costume, to a magic fish, to a witch in a bottle, uncover these hidden curiosities.


Explore "THE ART OF ARMOUR" with Tobias Capwell (click on the helmet above).
Another lecture from Tobias who gave us his "Reconstructing the real Richard III" almost two years ago. Here he explores the world of the armour that clad warrior knights of old, not merely worn for protection, each one was a work of art, holding hidden messages denoting power and identity.

Random Spectacular

at the Fry Art Gallery (Saffron Walden, Essex).
This virtual tour should have opened in April 2020 but of course.....
The items in this exhibition, featuring familiar and rarely shown work, were chosen by invited selectors from various aspects of the arts to surprise, delight and amuse visitors.
Highlights can be viewed on this YouTube video.

Building AngloSaxon England

Building AngloSaxon England

by John Blair, this illustrated book draws on the latest archaeological discoveries to present a radical reappraisal of the Anglo-Saxon built environment shedding new light on the important functions of buildings and settlements in shaping people's lives during the age of the Venerable Bede and King Alfred.

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry

by Jacky Klein, this illustrated book brings the reader right up to date with the work of the Turner Prize-winning artist, exploring the artist’s work through a discussion of his major themes and subjects. Topics include "Pottery and Aesthetics", "Class", "War and Conflict" and "Sex and Gender".


Explore "THE ART OF CARTOONS" with Harry Venning (click on the cartoon above).
Especially for fans of "Clare in the Community", see here and listen here, cartoonist and Arts Society Lecturer Harry Venning gives us a short history of the art of the cartoon.

The Art, Design & Future of Fungi

at Somerset House. This virtual tour explores the colourful cultural legacy of the humble mushroom and their powerful potential in the planet’s survival, as innovative designers experiment with the sustainable material of mushrooms in fashion, homewares and architecture.

The Vanishing Man

The Vanishing Man

"- In pursuit of Velázquez" by Laura Cummings. In 1845, a bookseller came across a stained portrait of a prince at an auction. Is it a long-lost Velázquez? A prize-winning nonfiction innovative fusion of detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania.

The Stonemason

The Stonemason

by Andrew Ziminski, this book is part archaeological history and part personal insight into this ancient craft. From Neolithic monoliths to Roman baths and temples, from landmarks such as Salisbury Cathedral to the mills and aqueducts of the Industrial Revolution, Andrew gives his personal history of how Britain was built.

The World Until Yesterday

The World Until Yesterday

by Jared Diamomd. The author shows us that traditional societies offer a window into how our ancestors lived for the majority of human history - until almost yesterday, in evolutionary terms. Tribal people's approaches to essential human problemshave much to teach us.

Spirit of Place

Spirit of Place

- "Artists, Writers and the British Landscape" by Susan Owens. Our landscape has been framed, reimagined and reshaped by generations from The Bede via Turner and Constable to writers such as Robert Macfarlane. The Guardian ".. a book of idylls and nightmares. Psychological and geological terrains meld..".