Free tours of The Radev Collection at Victoria Art Gallery
Visitors to Bath & North East Somerset Council's Victoria Art Gallery can enjoy free guided tours of the latest fabulous collection on display in early November.
The Gallery's 'Radev Collection: from ****arro to Picasso', which runs until 18 November 2012, features a stunning selection of modern British and French art.
As part of the Council's drive to offer cultural opportunities to everyone, Jon Benington, Victoria Art Gallery Manager, will lead free tours of the exhibition on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 November from 1pm-1.45pm. Booking is not required.
Mr Benington said: "I look forward to welcoming along anyone interested in this recent period of British and French art history. The tours will explore a remarkable 20th century story of love, friendship and gay relationships interspersing well-known names including Jean Cocteau, EM Forster and members of the Bloomsbury group.
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"The exhibition in the lower gallery offers a rare treat to view unseen works by Amedeo Modigliani, Georges Braque, Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Duncan Grant and many other famous artists."
The collection is named after Mattei Radev, who reached Britain in 1950 as a stowaway escaping Communist Bulgaria. He drew on all his hard work and skill to become a prominent picture framer.
On reaching London in 1950, Radev held down a series of dead-end jobs. His life changed when, working as an orderly at Whittington hospital in north London, he met the eye surgeon and gay rights activist Patrick Trevor-Roper.
This turn of events found him soon lodging in the grand terrace house of gallery owner Robert Wellington on Regent's Park. It was through this that Radev learned the art of picture framing and created a flourishing business. In 1960, Radev met EM Forster and, despite the 46 years difference, they fell in love.
Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: "For a collection of this quality to remain intact for over 70 years is almost unheard of today, and a wonderful tribute to the strong friendships that endured between its founders.
"Bath & North East Somerset Council is proud to stage this exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery. We hope that many people will take the opportunity to appreciate the many varied works of art on display up until 18 November, and find out more about the fascinating story behind them with our free tours on 8 and 9 November."
The Victoria Art Gallery, near Pulteney Bridge in Bath, is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sundays 1.30pm to 5pm and closed on Mondays. Attendance is free. For more details call 01225 477233 or visit the Gallery's website www.victoriagal.org.uk.
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