17 The Circus, Bath, Somerset, once housed the famous artist Thomas Gainsborough.
Thomas, his wife Margaret and two children lived in Bath from 1759 - 1774, when
they then left for London. At first they were in a town house in Abbey Road,
which has since been demolished and they then moved to the new fashionable
area of the Circus, called King's Circus at that time.
The houses in the Circus were designed and built by John Wood the elder and
finished by his son John Wood the younger, after his fathers death. John Wood
the elder had been convinced that Bath was the centre of the Druid activity in
England and having studied Stonehenge, designed the circus in the same diameter.
It is thought that the Circus is joined to the Royal Crescent by a ley-line and that
their design represents the sun and the moon.
Thomas Gainsborough was relatively unknown when he arrived in Bath, and
to help promote his work, displayed it at the Pump Rooms, showing how
beautiful he could make his sitters. Bath was now in its fashionable heyday
with the lure of the spa, the elite staying there to take the waters. Very soon after
his arrival he gained many commissions and when he moved to the Circus, he
incorporated his studio at number 17. Because of his success in Bath he
eventually moved to London having gained a reputation as a highly respected
If you go to Bath, visit the Victoria Art Gallery and the Holbein Museum to see
examples of his work. The Assembly Rooms have a portrait that he did of
William Wade, Master of Ceremonies, which Gainsborough gave to the