The Arrival of Spring: Rebecca Louise Law’s ‘Seasons’ at Compton Verney

 By Amy Orrock, Senior Curator


Things to do at Compton Verney this summer

Looking to keep busy over the summer holidays? Whether there is rain or sunshine, there will be fun and interesting activities to keep all the family entertained over this summer.   Visit our summer exhibitions Sat 30 June – Sun 30 September Enter the joyful and colourful Marvellous Mechanical Museum and Rodney Peppè’s World of Invention at Compton Verney this summer. Explore delightful moving mechanical toys, automata and spectacular mechanical art. Don’t forget to grab a Marvellous Mechanical Museum Family Trail guide to engage and excited the whole family.   Artspace Tue 24 July – Fri 31 August, 11am – 4pm Compton Verney’s ever-popular Artspace returns on Tue 24 July. Artist Fire the Inventor from The Marvellous Mechanical Museum has begun a mechanical installation. Help by adding your own weird and wonderful creations. Learn the basics of mechanical movement and exercise your creative and engineering skills. Perfect for the whole family! This activity is included in a day ticket admission and is FREE for Members and Annual Pass Holders.   Forest School Family Thursdays Every Thu, 26 Jul – 30 Aug, 11am – 3pm Come along dressed for the weather and make nature inspired crafts, silly soup in the mud […]


Half Term at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park

Artists as Designers: Build a Book Sat 26 May – Fri 1 Jun, 11am – 4pm A drop-in session in the Studio where you will learn how to build your own book from cover to pages and decorate. Visit our exhibitions Until Sun 10 Jun Final weeks of our Spring Exhibitions! Don’t miss Ravilious & Co and Created in Conflict. FREE entry for Members.   Half Term Forest School Thu 31 May, 11am – 4pm Create May Crowns, Forest School Wands and take part in weaving activities this May Half Term.   Orienteering Daily, 11am – 4pm Explore the grounds with our orienteering trails, a great way to grab some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors!   Discover our wildlife Our grounds are full of wildlife! Spot birds on the lake from our bird hide, have a go at pond dipping, find the bats in our Ice House and loads more.   Adventure Playground Climb, swing and explore in our children’s adventure playground,  


Share Your Soldier Art

In this online gallery we invite you to share your soldier art. Many of the visitors to Created in Conflict: British Soldier Art from the Crimean War to Today have spoken to us about the treasured objects they have at home, collected and produced by family and friends in the military. Soldiers visiting from nearby MoD Kineton talked about how they hadn’t thought about decorating bases, and making things like personalised mugs, hats, game boards and signs as art, but after seeing the show they now think afresh about the creativity involved in things they did to make life more comfortable and to pass the time on operations. Here we hope to bring together and recognise an even broader range of soldiers’ creative work, expanding on the exhibition’s highlighting of the more unexpected forms of soldier art – including sewing, knitting, tattooing, jewellery and toy-making as well as carving, engraving and painting. Please do send us photographs and the stories of soldier art in your personal collections and experience. In this opening blog Sapper Adam Williams shares his photographs of wall murals painted by members of many nations forces on recent operations in Iraq. Williams was, in part, inspired by […]


The Lost Words – Curators Blog

Books to inspire you to be a nature lover Working with Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane The Lost Words exhibition will include miniature libraries of books which have inspired them and we hope future generations to take imaginary and real journeys into the natural world.   The Lost Words Spell Walks Our Spell Walks posts are going into the grounds as we prepare for The Lost Words Spell Walks which will take visitors to the exhibition on a journey of words and images with nature spotting on the way.       The Lost Words Letterpress The first letterpress prints for The Lost Words have been rolling off the press today. Each of Robert Macfarlane’s Spells are being set and printed by Nomad Letterpress at the Whittington Press in Gloucestershire. They are being printed in a Caslon font on beautiful 100% cotton hot-pressed paper with each of the titles picked out in gold to match Jackie Morris’s iridescent watercolour and gold leaf paintings.                         The Lost Words Wallpaper We’re excited to see The Lost Words wallpapers going up today! Imagine stepping into a book and seeing a world without oak […]


Six questions with the Curator of Shakespeare in Art

Antonia is one of our experienced exhibition curators and has been responsible for some of the most successful exhibitions in recent years, for example the Arts & Crafts House: Then and Now exhibition from 2015. She was lead curator on the Shakespeare in Art project which means that, working with other members of the team, she researched the works of art, shaped the exhibition, decided on the hang (what artworks went where), wrote the interpretation, liaised with the RSC and worked with our internal teams (front of house, learning and marketing) to develop their plans for the show.  1. Tell us why you’re doing this exhibition now? 2016 is the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare (coincidentally, Shakespeare died on the same day that he was born, the 23rd April) and we felt that this was a good moment to produce a brand new art exhibition related to his work, and to join in the national celebrations of his achievements.  2. How did the collaboration with the RSC come about? The collaboration came about around three years ago when our Director, Dr Steven Parissien met with Gregory Doran, now the Artistic Director of the RSC, to talk about the […]


Periodic Tales; Installing David Nash’s Big Black in the entrance hall

AKA… getting a huge bit of tree through a small hole in the wall  On a sunny Friday in September, just before all the rest of the loans arrived for our Autumn exhibition, Periodic Tales, we devoted a day to installing a fantastic sculpture made of charred redwood into our entrance hall. Artist David Nash primarily works with wood which has fallen naturally, or cut down due to natural disease. In using some of the classical elements – air, fire and water, Nash changes the form and surface of his sculptures. In this recently finished work he has burnt and charred the California redwood to form deep black, velvety surfaces. The charred wood becomes charcoal, a form of carbon, one of the modern chemical elements. After the work arrived with us, along with the realisation that we would have about 2cm grace to get it through the door – and yes there was a moment when we just thought we’d be waving goodbye to it before we’d even unloaded it – we needed a forklift and several strong technicians to get it into the building.    We were ably assisted on the day by Momart fine art transporters and they […]


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 […]


Research at Red House: the Arts and Crafts

With sunlight flooding in from the garden through the open windows and picking out the gold detail in the Burne-Jones wall paintings, I definitely couldn’t have chosen a better day for my research trip to Red House in Bexleyheath, London (definitely worth the early start to catch the train from Leamington!). My visit to Red House was an opportunity to do some research for our upcoming Arts and Crafts House exhibition at Compton Verney in 2015, which will feature both historic works from key practitioners of the Movement as well as contemporary commissions. The Red House is now owned by the National Trust – an extraordinary Arts and Crafts house conceived, created and enjoyed by William Morris and his bohemian family and friends. The house includes design features and furniture by William Morris and Philip Webb, and stained glass and paintings by Edward Burne-Jones – all key practitioners of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Red House was only acquired by the National Trust ten years ago (celebrating their 10th birthday this year just like Compton Verney!) – and it is this that makes the property so fascinating… As I went round on my guided tour, I got the impression that […]


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. 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 […]


Museums at Night

To celebrate our 10th anniversary Compton Verney opened its doors from 5:30pm-8:30pm to join in the Museums at Night 2015 festival taking place over 15-17 May. On Friday 16 May we offered a specials discounted price of £10 for our 10th birthday for the evening’s event.  Our Grounds manager Gary Webb started the evening off with a nature tour of the grounds, he’s so passionate about the landscape it over ran and these were the dedicated few who stayed on the tour. Meanwhile the rest of the visitors had joined the tour for the Moore Rodin exhibition with Curator Verity Elson. It was lovely to see the galleries full of visitors at this time of day. The sculptures were beautifully light to highlight the figures. We left out sketching materials for visitors to use inside the galleries. Many people on the tour were listening and drawing at the same time. Over in Forest school the fire had started and the night was drawing in. We explored beastly bugs from under the logs and toasted marshmallows, Verity finished the exhibition tour in the grounds looking at the sculptures outside. All the tours were fully booked to capacity and visitors commented on the great experience to view the exhibition at […]

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Re-seating ‘Seated Woman’

Last Monday (which fortunately dawned with blue sky and sunshine!) saw Henry Moore’s Seated Woman moved back to its original plinth. Technicians raising the sculpture with the aid of a gantry and lifting slings. The sculpture had had to be moved during the high winds in February, when one of the tall cedar trees down by the lake became hazardous, particularly for Seated Woman positioned close by. This blustery evening back in February was a great example of the Programming Team having to work quickly behind-the-scenes to make sure things went smoothly – from arranging technicians to bring a crane all the way from Hertfordshire to move the sculpture, to our Technician Jack having to set a new plinth as night drew in! Henry Moore’s Seated Woman on its temporary plinth with Rodin’s Cybele visible in the background. Photograph (c) Jamie Woodley, reproduced by kind permission of the Henry Moore Foundation and musée Rodin. With the cedar tree in question taken care of by the Grounds Team, it is great to now see Seated Woman back where she was originally planned to sit (although of course it is impossible for this sculpture not to look majestic wherever it is situated!) Walking out into the grounds from […]

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