A treat in the centre of Salisbury
As a Salisbury resident, I often enjoy a tour round our local museum as it frequently hosts wonderful art exhibitions. On a recent visit with my friend and fellow artist, Jane, we noticed that Arundells – home of former PM Ted Heath – was open to the public and decided to pop in. Arundells sits in the historic Cathedral Close. It was originally built in 1291, but has undergone several restorations and additions and what we see today was largely built in the 1700s. There is a beautiful garden to the rear that overlooks the meeting point of the rivers Avon and Nadder. Thinking that we would be primarily enjoying some beautiful interiors we soon realised that it was actually the art collection that would impress us most.
During his lifetime, Ted Heath had built up the most wonderful collection – either paintings he purchased or gifts he was given by heads of state. There are paintings by John Singer-Sargent, Augustus and Gwen John, Lowry and Churchill. The stewards in each room are wonderfully equipped with anecdotes about absolutely every item of interest and are keen to enter into conversation. Heath clearly had a great interest and appreciation of art, and I marvel at what the value of the collection must be!
Being Prime Minister meant a regular roasting by the press’ illustrators, and the cartoon gallery is absolutely fantastic. All in all, every room is a treat and if you are an art lover in the Salisbury area, I highly recommend a visit.