Plaster portrait sculptures
On the walls of our Lantern Foyer there are seven portraits of historic directors and benefactors of Bristol Beacon, formerly known as Colston Hall.
We have commissioned an audio work in response to the stories behind the portraits, which will be available on this page soon.
Joseph Storrs Fry (1826-1913)
J.S Fry was the great-grandson of Joseph Fry (1728-1787). He inherited Fry’s, the family run chocolate business founded in Bristol in 1759. From the 1850s Fry’s chocolate imported cocoa from slave-run plantations in the Caribbean. This continued until 1909 when Fry’s decided to ban the imports in partnership with the two other major UK chocolate manufacturers at the time: Cadbury’s and Bourneville.
Alfred Newell Price (1834-1928)
Price was a founder of the Colston Hall Company and vice-chair. He was a partner in a stoneware pottery business that was established by his family in Bristol in 1796 and continued until 1961, surviving near-destruction in the Blitz. Herbert Thomas (1810-1903) was chairman of the Colston Hall Company for thirty-four years until his death. He was a magistrate and a director of a Bristol soap manufacturer established by his elder brother, Christopher James Thomas
Herbert Thomas (1810-1903)
Thomas was chairman of the Colston Hall Company for thirty-four years until his death. He was magistrate and a director of a Bristol sap manufacturer established by his elder brother. Christopher James Thomas.
Christopher James Thomas (1807-1894)
CJ Thomas was a founding director of the Colston Hall Company in the early 1860s. He ran the successful Bristol soap-making business Christopher Thomas & Bros. Ltd, becoming one of Britain’s largest manufacturers. He was a Liberal MP and became one of the longest serving members of Bristol City Council.
Elisha Smith Robinson (1817-1885)
Robinson was a founder and director of the Colston Hall Company. He built up one of the largest printing companies of the Victorian era from scratch and made Bristol the centre of the packaging industry. He was Mayor of Bristol in 1866, and a former Liberal MP. Sculptor: Henry Richard Hope-Pinker
Sir William Henry Wills Bart (1830-1911)
William Henry Wills Bart was part of the family-run Wills tobacco importing company and a founding director of the Colston Hall Company. He funded Colston Hall’s great organ in 1870 which was later destroyed in the 1898 fire. Historically the UK tobacco industry’s wealth has indirectly benefitted from imported tobacco grown by enslaved Africans and their descendants. Sculptor: Henry Richard Hope-Pinker.
Lewis Fry (1832-1921)
Lewis Fry was the brother of Joseph Storrs Fry, director of the Fry’s chocolate empire. He was a Liberal Unionist MP. In 1882, at an ‘Equality of Races’ meeting held at the Lantern Hall, Fry read out a motion which called upon the audience to “do all that is in their power to remove the existing prejudice against race and colour from which our own colonies and dependencies are not exempt”. Sculptor: Henry Richard Hope-Pinker.
Roundells Soundscape is a creative response to the seven portraits of the historic directors and benefactors of Bristol Beacon, formerly known as Colston Hall.
The audio artwork aims to uncover the complexities of the characters but also explore what new visitors and performers will bring to our transformed venue. It features music by Ngaio Anyia and Amber-Ruth Watson, a poem by Danny Carlo Pandolfi and Mixing by Tom Hackwell.
Roundells Soundscape simultaneously acknowledges these historic individuals and offers an uplifting opportunity for you, our audiences today, to understand that you are the “benefactors of now”.
Amber-Ruth Watson – Lead Artist and Producer
Charlie Atterton – Vocalist and Songwriter
Helen Wyatt – Vocalist and Songwriter
Molly Tuohy-Tillson – Vocalist and Songwriter
Roisin Addo – Vocalist and Songwriter
Aro Angelique – Songwriter
Iman Sultan West – Songwriter
Luci O’Reilly – Songwriter
Mary Mina – Songwriter
Yogic – Beats
Curated by Cathy Mager
This soundscape was created as part of City of Beacons; a community engagement project commissioned by Bristol Beacon working with women and non-binary people with hidden disabilities.