A Public Vaccination Station in Nottingham in 1898


Bridgerton, Boxing and the Regency Beau Monde


Bronze mirrors: reflections of China


Curatorial trainee update

Our curatorial trainee shares her experience in Warwickshire Eleanor Hutchison Since my last blog post I have begun to write text for the redisplay of Compton Verney’s Northern European collection. This text will be used in a new gallery guide, as wall captions for individual works, and more extensive information will be added to the website. It has been such a pleasure to look in detail at every item in the collection and provide visitors with more information about these fabulous works of art. I attended the Museums Association conference that was hosted in Belfast in November. This was a great opportunity to discuss issues and ideas with colleagues from around the country and abroad. Discussions included how museums could and should approach challenging subjects and be a place to build relationships with communities. This was a really inspiring event and it will be exciting to see how the sector evolves. I have also been carrying out research into a small devotional panel of the Virgin and Child in the collection. I have been reviewing the evidence for its attribution to Ambrosius Benson, an Italian-born artist working in Bruges in the first half of the 16th century. Compton Verney also has a portrait […]

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Gunpowder at Compton Verney!

With Guy Fawkes celebrations underway, the historic story itself is one which resonates very much with Compton Verney… Robert Catesby himself was Warwickshire-born, and the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament was supposed to have led to a Catholic uprising in Warwickshire and surrounding counties. But one of the star attractions in the galleries at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park is a splendid portrait of the man who discovered the plotters – Sir Thomas Knyvet.  Thomas Knyvet or Knyvett (1545-1622) was a member of a prominent Wiltshire landowning family who had risen to the position of Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth I. Knighted by King James I in 1604, he shot to national prominence in 1605 when he was ordered by the king to search the cellars below the Houses of Parliament on the evening of 5th November. There he discovered and apprehended Catesby, Fawkes and their fellow-plotters, thus frustrating the Gunpowder Plot. As a reward, Sir Thomas was made responsible for the education of the king’s daughter, Mary, and in 1607 was created Baron Knyvet of Escrick in Yorkshire.  Compton Verney’s fine portrait of Knyvet of c.1569 is one of the most incisive depictions of the […]



Kids in Museums is a national campaign to encourage more activities for and by children and young people to take place in Museums settings. An annual event takes place in November for organisations such as Art galleries, Museums and Heritage sites to be taken over by children and young people. This year Compton Verney worked with Stratford Upon Avon school and Campion school. Sixth form students from each school joined us on Tuesday 25 November. Ed who studies Art, Drama and Graphic Design was interested in the role of Front of House. He selected an artwork in our collection that he loved and bases a short talk about this piece. At 2:30pm he would present his findings to members of the public and ask for their response to the painting. A member of the audience asked if the artist is featured in the picture, another person asked why there were blisters on the painting. Ed responded in a very confident and positive manner. Watch the short clip on facebook to see how he got on. https://www.facebook.com/comptonverney Ed is interested in studying Product Design but our Front of House Manager was happy to give him a gallery job right there and […]


Arts Award Discover

Do you know about Arts Award? Compton Verney has issued a new Arts Award Discover booklet for families. Discover is an introductory level to Arts Award and is aimed at age 5+. We want them to recognise different art forms all around them. We have invited parents/ guardians to encourage their children to discover the arts through purchasing a booklet from Compton Verney shop at just £3. This is a guide to parts A & B of Arts Award that helps your child achieve their Arts Award certificate. The more information you provide the better. It encourages children to take part in projects and find out about artists. They can document and record their findings through drawing, writing and photography. They can even provide films through social media sites. These activities can take place at Compton Verney, home or at school. Compton Verney provides many opportunities to take part in arts and craft workshops or even pick up one of our back packs to take into the collections. We are looking for around 20 hours of art activity and want to see lots of different art forms covered. After they have completed the booklet, all you need to do it […]


Learning away day to British Folk Art at Tate Britain

Moira, Alice and Jo found time to go out and visit the British Folk Art exhibition at Tate Britain before it moves onto Compton Verney in September. Volunteers John, Clifford and Imogen were coming along too. It allowed time to reflect upon our public and school programmes and what we have in mind around the British Folk Art exhibition. We hopped onto Chiltern railway and discovered the toilets had a very familiar scene on the walls. We met up with Emily Stone Assistant Curator Public Programmes and Communities who had organised us to meet with other members of the learning team at Tate. It was lovely to meet up with Emily in this setting, she used to work at Compton Verney and often comes back to see what we are up to. Our first appointment was with Fiona taking place in a new space set up by young people for visitors to use. It included etcher sketch, books, plants, film projections, beanbags and jellybeans. We felt very relaxed and discussed the learning programme around the British Folk Art exhibition. We check out Open studio which takes place during holidays working with an artist Rebecca Birch to develop family activities around […]


British Folk Art

You may have heard about the exciting, upcoming exhibition of British Folk Art opening at Tate Britain on 10 June, which will be coming to Compton Verney from 27 September. We are very pleased to be lending 18 works to the show from our own important Folk art collection. http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art This week and last, the 18 selected works from our collection made their way to Tate Britain for the installation of the exhibition. Here are some behind-the-scenes pics of the works going off on loan. Our Technician carefully laid out the works in the Folk Art galleries at Compton Verney ready for them to be checked one last time by the Conservator. It wasn’t just 2D works which went on loan. Here we’ve got the ladders at the ready to take down the Locksmith’s Trade Sign in the shape of a Padlock. The works were then packed in crates ready to be transported from Warwickshire to Tate Britain, London. George Smart, Old Man and Donkey, collage on paper, 1833. 37 x 31 cm. (c) Compton Verney. Photograph by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. The works on loan will return when British Folk Art comes to Compton Verney from 27 September. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing them in situ […]


The latest from the Chinese Collection

28 February was a banner day for the Chinese collection at Compton Verney. VISIT BY DR XU TIANJIN First, we had a visit from one of China’s foremost archaeologists. Dr. Xu Tianjin (徐天进), Director of the Center for the Study of Chinese Archaeology at Peking University, led a group in examining Compton Verney’s bronzes. Dr Xu was able to get a close look at a number of the outstanding pieces in the collection, such as the owl-faced fangjia. It was especially interesting to hear his views on how such finely detailed casting had been carried out in the 11th -12th century BC. Many of the excavations Dr Xu has led have taken place in China’s ‘Northwest’, homeland of the Western Zhou dynasty, and later, the famous Terracotta Army. A number of the pieces examined by Dr Xu had a connection to the Northwest or the Western Zhou. Here, Dr Xu is transcribing the inscription on the Western Zhou Teng Hu gui. He was particularly interested in the dramatic wine container, called a you. Vessels in this style are strongly associated with the Western Zhou, but Dr Xu thinks this vessel was cast in central China and then taken back to […]

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