Imagining ‘Silbury and Parnassus the same’: Edward Drax and the Batheaston Vase Adventure

"Despite assuring readers of his Ancient History of Wiltshire in 1812 that, 'We speak facts not theories', the Stourhead antiquary Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838) found the facts about Silbury Hill hard to come by. 'This stupendous artificial mound of earth cannot fail to arrest the attention of every passenger from Marlborough to Bath,' he wrote. 'An attempt was made to open it some years ago by a Dorsetshire gentleman, Colonel Drax'... But who was Drax, and what was his interest in Silbury?"

Michelangelo’s West Country equal? Edward Hodges Baily, RA

In 1988, a portrait of one of Bristol's most famous sons was returned to the city after spending fifty years in a packing crate in Scotland. The famous son in question is Edward Hodges Baily, and if his name is unfamiliar, the same cannot be said of the work he has left behind him. For Baily is the man who sculpted the figure of Nelson in London's Trafalgar Square. Julian Lea-Jones goes in search of Baily's glittering career and unravels the story behind the return of the great man's portrait.

‘This vile place’: Stanely Spencer in Bristol 1915-1916

Artist, Sir Stanley Spencer RA CBE, worked at the Beaufort Military hospital in Bristol during the First World War. Paul Gough retells Spencer’s experience at the hospital (now UWE’s Glenside Campus), through his diary entries and other primary sources. During his time in service, Spencer recorded in his diary a personal revelation which transformed his outlook and attitude to his work. This revelation would inform his later artwork which came to be celebrated at Newbury.