The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum, Cheltenham

I like a good museum and there seem to be lots of good little museums dotted about the country. Yesterday we were in Cheltenham and stumbled across a good example in The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum.

The entrance was a bit confusing as the main doors seemed to lead onto a heavily advertised cafe and looked nothing like I expected a museum to. There was a set of doors to the left of this but they just sent you back to the cafe entrance so we decided that must be it then. As you walk through you immediately see a very large counter from where they serve drinks and food – not your normal start to a museum.

Anyway, there was a large poster hanging from the ceiling advertising a temporary exhibition called The Frozen Continent which looked like it might be interesting so we headed to the third floor where that started.

The Frozen Continent

The exhibition was about Edward Wilson, his life and death as part of the ill fated trip to the Antarctic with Scott. Over two small rooms were artefacts from his trip with Scott as well as a number of his paintings. It was clear that he was an accomplished painter from a very early age. One display had a drawing that he had done aged five and it was better that I could probably achieve now. An accompanying text stated that Wilson was known to destroy his paintings if he didn’t feel that they accurately reflected their subject – usually wildlife or landscapes – which makes him more of a perfectionist them me too!

Turns out that Wilson was also a man of great conscience as he wrote the following quote which not only still holds true but we also continue to suffer from these sins today.

‘A nation should be judged on exactly the same ground as an individual. As a nation we have the vilest of sins which everyone extols as the glories of Imperialism. One day all this part of our history will be looked upon in its proper light’.

Edward Adrian Wilson 1900

Please Let Me Pay

Entrance to the museum was free but I’d enjoyed it so much I felt I wanted to donate. Dotted around the museum were contactless payment machines to facilitate this. Unfortunately, two of these were out of order and a further one wasn’t accepting payments on any of the three cards I tried. Given that the place relies on donations I found this pretty disappointing. No problem, I thought, I’ll donate on their website instead but to do so you need to create an account which I wasn’t willing to do. So, if anyone from The Wilson is reading this I urge you to regularly check your machines and keep them working!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.