In Bath with Bruegel

Bath, May 2017.

Bath featured here a few days ago. I went to see the Bruegel/Brueghel exhibition at the Holburne Museum. You might think I went to Cherbourg from the picture above.

But we digress, down to business. Did the Bruegel clan drop their aitches? No, the reverse. Pieter Bruegel the Elder had two sons, both small children when he died in 1569 aged forty-four. The sons, rather than cashing in on their father’s reputation, differentiated themselves by inserting an aitch. They are Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder, born in 1564 and 1568 respectively. Jan’s daughter, Anna, married David Teniers the Younger in 1637, adding another great name to the family.

Why the Brueghel boys did not want to be confused with their father is a mystery. Bernardo Bellotto, nephew and pupil of Giovanni Antonio Canal, went so far as to sign his pictures like his uncle – Canaletto.

My erudite companions at the Holburne drew attention to how prolific these painters were and how many versions they did of the same picture. My only observation was that in this show there are no winter scenes.

Sir William Holburne’s collection has been housed in this former hotel since 1916. It was, controversially, extended in 2008. Sir William was a younger son. He survived Trafalgar and inherited the baronetcy upon his brother’s death at the Battle of Bayonne in 1814.   When I went to work in the City in 1976 my first boss was John Barneby. He did not suffer fools and I was jolly nearly sacked. Now I see he is chairman of the trustees at the Holburne. I hope he has mellowed.

Holburne Museum, Bath, May 2017.
New extension, Holburne Museum, Bath, May 2017.

2 thoughts on “In Bath with Bruegel”

  1. A very good Pa Bruegel (one of six that he painted showing different seasons of which 5 survive) and two Uncle Canaletto’s of London (the Lord Mayor’s parade on the river and Westminster Bridge under construction) in Prague castle. And lots of Bernardo Bellottos in Dresden.

    1. There is a Canaletto exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery that we should go to. If you have got to Dresden I suppose your calves are bulging after all that cycling – and maybe tummy likewise?

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