Presentation of the British year

May 19th – October 17th 2021

Bordeaux Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts

Under the umbrella name A British year at the museum!, Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) presents two exhibitions: British Stories at the museum and Absolutely Bizarre! at the gallery. The two shows will honour British painting, which remains largely unknown in France, while also celebrating the historic bonds that have linked Great Britain and Aquitaine for centuries.

The Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest museums in the region for the quality of its British art collection, comprising paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures, seldom represented in public collections in France. This body collected from various sources (legacies, purchases, long-term loans, etc.), largely composed of portraits and history paintings, includes works by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Thomas Lawrence, not to mention artists more rarely found in France such as Benjamin West, John Martin and Johann Zoffany.

Seldom does the public have the opportunity to admire these treasures in one viewing. The event A British Year!, to be held at the Bordeaux Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts, is an occasion to redress this oversight with two major exhibitions. One will offer an incredible setting for the interaction between the fine art museum’s collections and the British masterpieces on exceptional loan by the Louvre. The second, just as incredible, will pay homage to the excellent Bristol School of Artists (1800-1840), with the loan of over sixty artworks (paintings and drawings) by Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, a partner of the Louvre project, plus exceptional loans from the Tate Britain in London, the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath and the Louvre in Paris.

Exhibition organised by the City of Bordeaux with the exceptional collaboration of the Louvre Museum.

Francis Danby, Sunset at Sea after a Storm, 1824, huile sur toile © Bristol, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

Samuel Colman, UA Romantic Landscape with the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, vers 1830 © Bristol, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.


About the British Year


These two exhibitions will be accompanied by two scientific publications, including a catalogue for the exhibition Absolutely Bizarre! You might also be interested in the international colloquium on Portrait Art in English Painting (1750-1900) co-organised by the universities of Toulouse and Bordeaux in collaboration with the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts, running in September 15-17, 2021.

A programme of concerts, organised in partnership with the Opéra and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine PSEMD (Dance and Music Teacher Training School), talks, themed tours and educational projects held as part of the Le musée sort de ses murs [The museum goes beyond its walls] contribute to making this Fine British Season a rare occasion to understand the culture of our British friends and admire this wealth in a complex geopolitical context. Bordeaux Mériadeck Library will also be one of our season partners, hosting numerous events on its premises in connection with exploring English literature.

Exhibitions curated by:

Sophie Barthélémy, director of the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts

Sandra Buratti-Hasan, deputy director of Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts, conservator of the 19th and 20th century Collections

Guillaume Faroult, conservator of French 18th century and British and American art, Louvre and, for Absolutely Bizarre !, Jenny Gaschke of the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery.

Exhibition edition: under the scientific direction of Guillaume Faroult. Translation in English : Benjamin Aguilar Laguierce, 9h05 International.

Exhibition design: Sandrine Iratçabal, Atelier SIGMAS, Bordeaux.

Lighting: Géraud Périole.


Francis Danby, <i>Sunset at Sea after a Storm</i>

Francis Danby, Sunset at Sea after a Storm