Happy faces in in Bath all week as graduates line up to be snapped next to one of Bath’s notable backdrops. The Beaux Arts Minotaur (‘Hector’) is one, or for that erudite look I have spotted a few people doing the Instagram shuffle down the steps of Toppings Bookshop opposite the gallery.  All I can say is ‘Look how young these young people are’.


That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.

from Sailing to Byzantium  by W B Yeats

For our summer offering we are featuring in the main room a collection of paintings by Cambridgeshire based painter Melanie Goemans. Melanie grew up in the Lincolnshire fens, spending time in Italy between studying Florentine Renaissance Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London (BA Hons. and MA with distinction). She then studied MA in Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire.  She has exhibited at the Jerwood Space, Florence Trust, Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, Glyndebourne amongst many others. Her work is held in collections worldwide such as the Dorchester Hotel in London. the Pizzuti Collection, Imago Mundi Collection, Exton Park Vineyard, Fox Linton, and the Bridgeman Library.  She was short-listed for the John Moores Painting Prize, and has been featured in the ING Discerning Eye, and National Open Art Exhibitions.

Walking my dogs in the early morning I notice the small seasonal shifts. I think about the quiet beauty in the everyday, particularly in the natural commonplace things, rarely celebrated. My paintings are inspired by what I see around me: the form of a tree; the long lines of twining stems; the intricacies of birds in flight. Often I am reminded of a poem or a piece of music and revisit an idea resonating there. I use traditional materials – oil, gold leaf, charcoal, gesso – my work draws attention to these fleeting moments and underscores their value.

This painting is inspired by Robert Schumann:

Of Foreign Lands and People, oil, acrylic and 22ct moon gold leaf on canvas, 103 x 103 cm £3950


Up into the cherry tree
Who should climb but little me?
I held the trunk with both my hands
And looked abroad in foreign lands.

I saw the next door garden lie,
Adorned with flowers, before my eye,
And many pleasant places more
That I had never seen before.

I saw the dimpling river pass
And be the sky’s blue looking-glass;
The dusty roads go up and down
With people tramping in to town.

If I could find a higher tree
Farther and farther I should see,
To where the grown-up river slips
Into the sea among the ships,

To where the road on either hand
Lead onward into fairy land,
Where all the children dine at five,
And all the playthings come alive.

Robert Louis Stevenson  Foreign Lands


Under The Flight of The Pink-Footed Geese III, Oil, 22ct moon gold leaf and charcoal on linen. 79 × 64 cm £2,450


Did someone mention Geese?

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver


Common Nettle I, oil on linen, 43 × 43 cm. £825


We also have some lovely sculpture on show, including work by Nichola Theakston, Beth Carter, Paul Mount, Patrick Haines, and  this new beauty by Anna Gillespie:

Fragile Love Acorn Cups, Mixed Media Ht. 107 cm. £5,900


And finally…

Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer’s end. In time’s maze
over fall fields, we name names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed’s marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

What we need is here by Wendell Berry

Thank you as always for reading.
Please click on the images above for links to webpages.

Best wishes,