The Trust holds a wide range of exhibitions relating to the history of Cirencester. These are drawn from its extensive art and archive collections. Sometimes these include special loans from other collections.
Past exhibitions have included Pubs, past and present, Transport in Cirencester, Cirencester People, portraits over 200 years (focussing on the extraordinary Cox collection of photographs of local people dating from the 1860s), and Drawing on Cirencester, historic drawings of Cirencester over 200 years.
Exhibitions are normally on show from May to October and the gallery is open on alternate Saturdays from 10 to 2 (the same Saturday as the Farmers Market) with additional days in the first or second week in September for Heritage Open Days.
Heritage Open Days and 2020 Online Exhibition
The Bingham Library Trust regrets that the Covid19 pandemic prevents our opening our doors this year. However, we are delighted to present an interim online exhibition;
Treasures from the Collections
Paintings, drawings, photographs, ephemera and original documents.
Celebrating and sharing the richness of the Bingham Library Trust Collections
The current online exhibition can be viewed as a PowerPoint presentation;Treasures-from-the-Collections-exhibition-September-2020
or as a PDF document;Treasures-from-the-Collections-exhibition-September-2020
200 years of Cirencester at Leisure
Cricket to clubs, Theatre to pubs
And celebrating the centenary of the Cirencester Band
The 2019 exhibition looked at Cirencester at leisure, focusing on the themes of entertainment, sport, hobbies and public events.
Highlights of the exhibition included a glimpse of some of the pubs and inns, including a rare engraving based on a print by the 18th century artist, Hogarth, of the Ram Inn. There were some fascinating records of theatre and dance in the town from a Pierrot group to the Cirencester & District Folk Dance Society. Photographs show the impressive panorama of the Market Square as seen for public events from the Mop fair to Royal occasions, and exactly 100 years ago, Peace celebrations for the end of World War I. Football, cricket, golf and swimming were all represented and perhaps most remarkable, roller skating in the Corn Hall in the Edwardian period.
The 2018 exhibition looked at the work of Cirencester artists, focussing especially on those who lived and worked in the town. These include John Beecham, probably one of the most important of the town’s artists working in the 19th century, known for his historical paintings showing scenes from the history of the town. The exhibition included some of the earliest views of Cirencester from 200 years ago, painted by John Burden, a drawing master in the town, and John Evans. It also introduced new acquisitions, including a work by 20thcentury painter Anthony Klitz, known for his often red-clothed figures painted against a misty atmospheric backdrop, and by well-known local artist Tracey Elphick.
Drawing On Cirencester
The exhibition was entitled ‘Drawing on Cirencester’ – historic scenes of Cirencester over 250 years and explore how Cirencester has been depicted using the most direct and simplest of artist techniques, drawing.
The earliest drawing dated from nearly 230 years ago and is by Joseph Farringdon who was a topographical artist known for his series of British views and monuments who visited the town in 1790 and drew the Parish Church. The Gallery was especially thrilled to borrow from Corinium Museum a series of bold expressive drawings created in 1814 by the well-known artist Jean Claude Nattes, best-known for his various views of Great Britain.
These included views of the Norman Arch, the Swan Inn and the Bathurst estate. In an age before the camera or mobile phone, drawing was the simplest way to capture the local scene and these drawings provide an important record of the town. Drawings often captured a freedom of expression which a more expensive record – an oil painting often did not have.
The exhibition was brought up to date by a pencil and crayon drawing of Cirencester Church made in 1947 by Richard Adler a German prisoner of war at Sidington Hall. There were also some drawings from 2012 by Cirencester artist Laurie Plant of more unusual scenes as they show his intriguing take on modern buildings in the town, the Bingham Library and St James Place.
Formally opened in September 2005, on the centenary of the opening of the building as the Bingham Library, the ground-floor Bingham Gallery is a multi-functional space supported by a strong exhibition theme. Examples from the Trust’s permanent collection, particularly John Beecham’s large oil paintings of Cirencester, are on display and provide an intriguing backdrop to the other activities in the Gallery space. Each summer, an exhibition on a specific theme is mounted and since 2005 these have included:
2005 Opening exhibition for the new Bingham Gallery
2006 The Artist’s Eye
2007 Cirencester Market Place
2008 Lost Cirencester
2009 Cirencester Parish Church
2010 Just the ticket : travel and transport in Cirencester
2011 Pubs Past and Present
2012 Royal Connections
2013 Cirencester 2013