This Summer, Doddington Hall is hosting a one-off, month-long exhibition of over 400 sculptures – one of the largest of it’s type within the UK. More than 80 national and international sculptors are exhibiting their work within the beautifully landscaped, seven-acre walled and wild gardens, and the Great Hall of the Elizabethan mansion.
Doddington Hall was designed in 1595 by Robery Smythson, a foremost architect of his time, and the House has remained in the hands of the same family ever since. James and Claire Birch are now the ‘guardians’ to the Hall after it was passed on from Claire’s parents, Anthony and Victoria Jarvis, and are welcoming the work of sculptors for the second time in their occupancy.
A first exhibition was held in the grounds of Doddington Hall in 2012, which saw thousands of people enjoy over 250 pieces of art. The displays for 2014 are all new – there are no returning pieces – and will be available to view until 7th September 2014.
You start the tour in The East Front, which features box edging and four topiary unicorns which represent the Jarvis family crest.
The Great Hall displays two of the exhibitions featured sculptures; Secret Society by Kathy Dalwood and The Corkscrew by Robb Higgs.
Secret society is a collection of plaster casts reminiscent of traditionally sculptured busts and statues of the 18th and 19th centuries. Each piece has been cast from a wide variety of materials including paper, card, plastic, electronic, plumbing parts and much more. Kathy’s work has also been featured by the likes of Louis Vuitton. The Corkscrew is a fully operational piece of art which, using 382 moving parts cast from brass, can open and pour a bottle of wine.
Following the Great Hall, you make your way into the romantic Wild Garden. Here you will spot a turf maze, an abundance of fruit trees and ancient chestnut trees, still producing chestnuts.
Seventh Heaven (1), (2) and (3) by Carole Beavis.
1. Othello by Lucy Kinsella. 2. Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head by Len Gifford. 3. Amazon Queen, Andromeda II The Watchers and Paris, The Watchers by Len Gifford. 4. A Place in the Sun by Melanie Deegan.
1. Galapagos Tortoise by David Cooke. 2. Arc I by Ian Campbell Briggs. 3. Boxing Hares by Martin Duffy. 4. Blossoming Relationship by Nicholas Moreton.
The Flying Machine by Michael Scrimshaw.
You will also find a very haunting but thought-provoking display hidden beneath one of Doddington Gardens’ ancient trees.
Part of the exhibition, which features contemporary pieces of all materials, takes place within the Granary Barn.
1. La Sopressa (Head) by Walter Furlan Murano. 2. Long Gallery ‘Selfie’ by Teresa Wells. 3. Bust of Churchill by Stephen Kettle.
This is also where you’ll find two extraordinary animated paper sculptures, The Hunter and Psycho – Homage to Hitchcock, which are certainly worth a watch. The intricate paper dioramas come to life through light and sound; you can watch Psycho – Homage to Hitchcock on the Doddington Sculpture website.
The final part of the exhibition is in the West Garden, a carefully landscaped garden which displays two water features and a number of colourful, nature-inspired sculptures.
Scylla by Giles Rayner.
Pollination Stems – Meadow Flower by Ruth Moilliet.
1 and 3. 155 Wishes by Michael McEntree. 2. Fish by Mike Savage. 4. Blue Leaves (pair) by Katie Green.
But before you leave, there is a final permanent sculpture built especially for this year’s exhibition; a 10 metre tall pyramid designed by Anthony Jarvis.
They pyramid has been built with recycled concrete and features shelter for walkers, an owl roost and a bat chamber. It was designed to lead the eye from the rear of the House, along The Avenue, to highlight the symmetry of the gardens.
James Birch explains: “It’s a true 21st century folly, designed by my father-in-law Anthony Jarvis. It has been several years in the planning and we are thrilled it is finally ready for everyone to enjoy, whether they want to see it from the Gardens, from the top floor Long Gallery windows, or up close from the ground via our nature trails.”
The pyramid is a 1000 metre walk from the house, so make sure you have plenty of time to pay it a visit.
Sculpture at Doddington Hall is a captivating exhibition which perfectly compliments the incredible gardens. It is certainly worth a visit before the exhibition ends on 7th September 2014; this is just a small selection of sculptures, and each piece is for sale. The exhibition is open everyday from 11am until 4pm, and admission is just £6 for adults and £3 for children.You can visit the House Wednesdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays from 1pm until 5pm. For more information, visit the Doddington Hall website or the Doddington Sculpture website.