Though I have been silent for a couple of weeks, I’ve not been inactive on the whole artist date front. I’ve just been a little too busy to write up last week’s date until now.
I suppose I had some vague grasp of Bristol’s links to the chocolate trade, but the little show (£5 entrance) pulled together what few facts I knew and added an extra-thick topping of fact sauce, with a lot of props and photography thrown in.
I liked: the pictures of the big chocolate factories of central Bristol; the early history of chocolate, from being made by apothecaries (who had the necessary gear on hand) to the first chocolate easter egg (made by Fry’s in 1873); the cute little chocolate production line, including the “spinners” used to make aforementioned eggs; and the little “branding” room where you could see the evolution of packaging of various popular chocolate bars.
I also had one long-standing misapprehension corrected. I’d always assumed that Bath chairs got their name because they looked a bit like a bath. I didn’t know they were actually invented in Bath! In my defence, I’d mostly only seen them drawn in cartoons in the pages of the Beano and Whizzer and Chips when I were a lad…
The intended audience for the exhibition is definitely families with children — there are some nice little touches for kids, like the little “Oompa Loompas Only” entrance to the branding section, and the little white factory coats laid on for the production line section, along with a proper “punching in” machine. I’m not sure I got as much out of my fiver as a family would have got from their tickets, but it was a diverting little artist date, nonetheless!