Art Works: Exhibition of paintings by local artist Tom Elliott

On display from May 17th-November 1st 2021

My work has been exhibited in London and Bath commercial galleries, so when Stuart Burroughs the director of the Museum contacted me about having a solo show — with my work “in among the exhibits” – I was delighted and intrigued.

It’s an amazing collection, and visiting I realised that, like me, Stuart is fascinated with the Victorian industrial heritage: offices and workplaces, shops, furnished interiors, laden tables, piled-up floorboards. . .  And everywhere, in so many spots in the Museum, something is being played out around the designed artefacts. Now, it turns out, there are twenty-five new exhibits: they are paintings of people and people’s objects, their bedrooms and nurseries and living rooms. I want my figures to lend another layer of atmosphere and discovery to the journeys of the Museum. Alongside the paintings are a few of my cut-outs: there’s a schoolboy with his books (idea borrowed from a Chardin genre painting); a life-size cut-out of a young woman in 17th century silk dress (better known at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam); and Riley a Pekingese toy dog is making his appearance — I think?

Hanging these paintings next to the penny farthings and the bottling machines exhibited is a Museum is, for me, an inspiring departure. I’ve contributed to a space where you can move effortlessly between imagined and real worlds. Much is to be found in these skilfully recreated spaces.

Tom Elliott