Vote: New name for Cheltenham's Art Gallery and Museum
THE possible rebranding of Cheltenham’s Art Gallery and Museum as The Wilson has drawn the fire of one of the town’s most respected architectural commentators.
The borough council’s cabinet will make a choice on Tuesday from three options after it commissioned a company to come up with new names and brand identities for the rebuilt space in Clarence Street which will open in October.
Douglas Ogle, chairman of the Cheltenham Civic Society, said: “I sincerely hope that no council tax money has been squandered on an exercise which has produced such puerile and ill-informed results, none of which will have significant meaning to the Cheltenham public, let alone the casual or foreign visitor.”
Describing the suggested new names for the art gallery and museum – The Wilson, C-Mag and Fifty One – as “crass”, Mr Ogle said: “If a person’s name is to be used it is blatantly obvious that the name of the founder and benefactor, de Ferrieres, is the only possible choice.”
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Cheltenham’s MP Martin Horwood also said he favoured naming the new gallery and museum after the man who was also one of Mr Horwood’s predecessors in Parliament.
He said: “Charles Conrad Adolphus, Baron du Bois de Ferrières was one of 19th-century Cheltenham’s most important and flamboyant characters.
“Mayor and MP for Cheltenham, he was the grandson of a Napoleonic general but was brought up locally and lived in Bayshill. He donated his important collection of Dutch masters along with £1,000 to establish Cheltenham Art Gallery.”
The MP said he had nothing against Edward Wilson, the inspiration for “The Wilson” name, but that he was more famous for his exploration than his art. He added: “Still at least his name would save us from the ghastly alternative, C-MAG. Or perhaps we should just leave it as Cheltenham Art Gallery and let this stunning new building and its art speak for themselves.”
That was echoed by Mr Ogle who said: “If any of these proposals are at all serious I urge Cheltenham Borough Council to think again, consult the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum whose views have been ignored in spite of huge support.
“They must not let themselves be carried away and create change merely for change’s sake, when the name Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum says it all.”
The borough council hopes to hear your views at cheltenham.gov.uk/cheltenhamart or using #cheltenhamart on Facebook and Twitter.