Art and Architecture of Bristol

Ref: C2420039

Bristol was once one of the great ports of Europe and the wealth that was accumulated was often spent on fine buildings. The city is rich in medieval architecture including two of the best late gothic churches – St Augustine’s and St Mary Redcliffe. There are also some fine examples of buildings associated with the port, from merchants’ houses to the villas built in Clifton in the eighteenth century. Bristol School painters recorded not just the dramatic landscape such as the Avon Gorge but also the social life of the town in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. They are well represented in the City Museum and Art Gallery as part of a notable collection. By the nineteenth century the port was in decline but new building types arose and Bristol continued its role as a cultural and educational centre. We will examine these different aspects through the art and architecture still to be found in the city.

Course aim

Bristol has a particularly rich history and this is reflected in the architecture and images associated with the City. In this course we look at some of the finest examples.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Give examples of buildings that represent different periods of Bristol’s history
  • Show how merchant wealth enriched the appearance of the city and its suburbs
  • Discuss what the city's museums and especially Bristol School paintings tell us about the life in the city
  • Develop skills in observing and interpreting buildings and paintings

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

Art and Architecture of Bristol


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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