Absolutely Bizarre: Strange tales from the Bristol School

In 2017, the French city of Bordeaux celebrated the 70th anniversary of its twinning with Bristol.

This year the Fine Art Museum in Bordeaux is hosting a British season and we have worked together with our French colleagues on an exhibition called Absolutely Bizarre! Strange Tales from the Bristol School of Artists.

The Bristol School of Artists is a completely unfamiliar subject in France. Our exhibition aims to introduce it through the works of the innovative artists working in the city during the early 1800s.

They formed far more than a “school” in the traditional sense of the word; this was an informal association of artists, writers and hobbyists. Together they went on “sketching parties” in the romantic, green countryside around Bristol.

They turned Bristol into an artistic laboratory where traditional pictorial genres such as landscapes and social comedy were reinvented.

In this online exhibition you can see which images the French curators Sandra Buratti-Hasan and Guillaume Faroult have chosen from Bristol Museums’ collection and what they have to say about them.

In Bordeaux these are accompanied by loans from Tate, the Louvre and the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.

We would like to thank our partners Bordeaux Museum.

musee des beaux arts bordeaux logo

sunset at sea painting by francis danby

Additional information

A painting in progress, of a reflection of an existing painting from the Bristol School Collection. There is a portrait reworked by a younger artist with 2 other smaller images of the original they are referencing.

Reflections on the Bristol School Exhibition

Look at how modern Bristolians see the same subjects as the 1800’s Bristol school today.

Bordeaux Museum Logo

Bordeaux’s ‘Bristol School’ exhibition event page.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery logo

Blog: Behind the scenes

Take a look behind the scenes at the journey to get the pictures from Bristol to Bordeaux.