Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

If you are intrigued by the unusual, fascinating objects art from remote, exotic, unusual locations from around the world, then a visit to this small well preserved mesmerizing museum is a must. The team of staff is exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable about the history, paintings, objects and, of course, the Victorian couple responsible for creating this remarkable home.

Situated in Bournemouth commanding one of the best views of the golden beach, the house is an unusual creation of mini-towers and conservatories.

The original owners Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes, owners of The Royal Bath Hotel, moved to this stunning British seaside resort in 1876.

They were avid travelers when travel was opening up to the wealthy and embarked on journeys as far as the Orient and remote areas in the Pacific islands, and even potentially dangerous regions such as Papua New Guinea.

What was outstanding to their house guests, consisting of notable pillars of society, were the artifacts they brought back. Some pieces would not be “PC” by today’s standards, consisting of intricate ivory carvings, moth and butterfly displays. However, the majority of the collections included various items such as a Moorish orange and gold mosaic fountain; puppetry and masks, some depicting the Devil from various cultures; jewelry, a silver bejeweled elephant and even a pair of Chinese shoes that required a lady to have her feet bound to be able to wear the miniature items.

There is literally no empty space at all; instead, every display cabinet is overflowing with rare delights and cornices and corners are highly decorated from handmade wallpapers. In the dining room, a rich boundary surrounds the ceiling, emblazoned by peacocks, that sets the tone of this lavish home.

The art gallery is breathtaking and would require a few visits to fully absorb the richness of the work.

If minimalism is your thing, then visit this museum and just let go and take in the richness of two eccentric travelers who have generously left a legacy of a bygone world to the public.

For more information please visit: Russell Cotes


Louis Mariette

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