On Friday 16th November we opened our weekend exhibition ’20 Years of Art, Work by Perry Harris’ as part of our ongoing celebrations of 20 years since the merger between the Royal School and Bath High in 1998.
Guests including the Mayor of Bath, Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones, and the Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Karen Walker mingled with other guests at the exhibition’s Private View and launch that evening in the Sophie Cameron Centre. Three of our music scholars, Holly Lancaster, Year 8, Lucia Liu and Winona Tong, both Year 11, provided our guests with beautiful music whilst they viewed the displays which certainly set the tone for the evening. Mrs Jane Robb, Chair of the Governors, and Mrs Jo Duncan, Head, also attended along with former and current staff and Governors, alumnae, parents and key supporters of the school before the exhibition was opened to the wider school community and public over the weekend. Throughout Saturday and Sunday it was a great pleasure in particular to see so many former members of staff and alumnae from the past 20 years all enjoying a trip down memory lane inspired by the wonderful artwork on display.
Perry, well-known in Bath and beyond for his cartoons, sketches and watercolours, has worked as a member of the Estates Team at the Royal High School for over 20 years, and lives within the grounds of the Senior School. During that time, he has effectively documented much of the school’s history through his work. Not only has Perry been the go-to man for very special leaving presents and cards and the school’s annual Christmas card, many of which were on display, but the school and its grounds through the changing seasons are often the focus of Perry’s work.
Poetically, an exhibition of Perry’s work cataloguing his time at the school entitled ‘20 Years of Art, Work’ was therefore chosen as an ideal way to commemorate 20 Years of the Royal High School as it is today.
On the Friday morning Year 6 were the first to see the exhibition when Graeme Preedy, Director of Art and Aesthetics, and Perry Harris took the girls on a short tour of the exhibition following their weekly Friday PE lesson at the Senior School. Such was the girls’ interest in the work on display that this did everything to endorse the wide appeal of Perry’s artwork. Clearly impressed by the wide variety of sketches, watercolours and vibrant cartoons the girls were keen to know all sorts of details such as how long it takes Perry to complete a piece of his artwork, which is his favourite and in the more detailed pictures how he knows where to put the different elements.
During the preparations in the run up to the exhibition, we were also delighted to give access to a small group of filmmaking students from Bath Spa University. The student group, led by Director Valeri Lyanguzov, had asked Perry if they could make a documentary about him against the backdrop of the exhibition and the school’s 20th anniversary celebrations, exploring how his two worlds of work and art combine.
During filming, Valeri and his team were kind enough to give a lunchtime filmmaking taster session to three of our Year 13s interested in cinematography, either as a hobby or as a career. Everything from equipment, how to get started, experimenting with setting up time-lapses to the importance of the story line, creating a portfolio and access to University courses was discussed.
Once they have completed the short documentary required for their University course submission, Valeri and his team are kindly making a longer version for us to keep and we can’t wait to see the end result which will serve as a lasting reminder of what was a very, very special event.
If you missed the exhibition and would like to obtain a copy of Perry’s book ‘20 Years of Art, Work by Perry Harris’ priced £10, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or buy on online from Perry's Etsy shop.
Copies will also be on sale at the Christmas Bazaar on Saturday 8th December from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.