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 […]
Fungi, as fascinating and prolific as they are, are a world away from the ‘comfortable’ horticultural world I occupy. They are hugely valuable though, and their presence in a natural landscape or garden offers much more than a short term unusual feature or splash of colour. For example,
Emma has been a Gallery Interpreter for five years now. She loves sharing her enthusiasm for art and design. She has a real knack for interpreting things in a simple, enlightening and entertaining way during my tours. We are delighted that Emma has answered some questions on her role as a Gallery Interpreter… What has been your favourite exhibition at Compton Verney? My favourite exhibition was Moore and Rodin in 2014. Wandering around the stunning sculptures set in Compton Verney’s beautiful grounds, on a sunny afternoon, was my idea of perfection. What forthcoming exhibitions at Compton Verney are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to ‘Painting Childhood’ and ‘Childhood Now’ next Spring. I have a strong recollection of coming to Compton Verney as a visitor for the first time to see the Peter Greenaway exhibition. I was heavily pregnant with my daughter, who is now 13 years old. I remember walking up the glass ramp, looking over my bump to see people milling around below. I thought ‘what a wonderful place Compton Verney was’; and how lucky I was to have this place on the doorstep. So an exhibition about children – a subject which has dominated […]
Jane has been a Gallery Interpreter at Compton Verney for ten seasons now! She is one of the original members of the first team of GIs! We are delighted that Jane has answered some questions on her role as a Gallery Interpreter… What is your favourite collection? This is a really tough question because I love them all. However, I favour our Naples gallery because of my knowledge and love of Baroque art, and also the Chinese gallery – we have such a wonderful important collection and I am deeply indebted to Morgan, our expert in that particular gallery. I am inspired by the incredible bronzes created two to three thousand years ago by such skilled craftsmen. What has been your favourite exhibition at Compton Verney? Bellini, Botticelli, Titian: 500 years of Italian Art (2013) – such a wealth of Italian art on loan from Glasgow Museums. These beautiful paintings embarked on a long tour of America – we were lucky to have them before that major tour. We have been so lucky with all the extraordinary exhibitions that have been available at Compton Verney. What forthcoming exhibitions at Compton Verney are you most looking forward to? We always look […]
Liz has been a Gallery Interpreter at Compton Verney for four years now. The best part of the job for her is bringing exhibitions to life for her audience, which she does extremely well! We are delighted that Liz has answered some questions on her role as a Gallery Interpreter… What is your favourite collection? Definitely British Folk Art, there’s just something for everyone: charming, cheering, amusing and captivating all! What has been your favourite exhibition at Compton Verney? This is a difficult question! Every exhibition is my favourite! If I was forced to choose it would be Ravilious and Co. It celebrated the wonderful work of this group of artists, linking their lives, shared interests and experiences in a truly world class exhibition. What forthcoming exhibitions at Compton Verney are you most looking forward to? Tea! The kettle is always on at our house and I want to learn more about my addiction of choice. A bit of fun – name three artists you would invite to dinner I’m going for an all-girl guest list. Tirzah Garwood and Enid Marx would have lots to chat about. Artemisia Gentileschi could join them and we could discuss why women are still […]
Christine has been a Gallery Interpreter for 10 years now. Combining three of her special interests: history, art and acquiring knowledge – it’s a great place for Christine to share her passion and enthusiasm. We are delighted that Christine has answered some questions on her role as a Gallery Interpreter… Best part/most challenging part of the job? One of the best parts is leading the tours, welcoming groups and giving talks. It is exciting and rewarding to research and acquire more information about all the exhibitions and add to my knowledge. It is a challenge and a joy! What is your favourite collection? My favourite gallery is Northern European. I love religious art, especially Dutch and German and I have been involved for 10 years now in research on one of the paintings, which has been very exciting, and rewarding. What has been your favourite exhibition at Compton Verney? My two favourite exhibitions were The Periodic Table and Seurat to Riley. The Periodic Table was my introduction to science, and boy, was that a challenge, but I rose to it! Seurat to Riley was my introduction into modern art, and again, another new world. Compton Verney is a great place […]
Being a Gallery Interpreter for three years now, Steve loves being able to share his passion for art and engage people of all ages. He enjoys being part of Compton Verney’s gallery team because he enjoys opening people’s eyes to alternative ways of seeing art. We are delighted that Steve has answered some questions on his role as a Gallery Interpreter… What is your favourite collection? Northern European – for the eloquent yet subtle way the gallery informs us of the compelling humanity of Northern European art, in its truth to nature, its concern for the human condition, and its passionate responses to contemporary religious, political, social and artistic changes. What has been your favourite exhibition at Compton Verney? Shakespeare in Art – this exhibition showed an eclectic mix of responses to Shakespeare’s work. The narrative was strong and compelling, and there were so many spine tingling moments for me, not least Ophelia in her watery grave, and the gloriously sensuous works of Fuseli. What forthcoming exhibitions at Compton Verney are you most looking forward to? Lucas Cranach – it will be a telling exposition of this most fascinating of Northern masters, at once portraitist, political activist, religious revolutionary, entrepreneur […]
Join us and celebrate the festive season at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park! Museum Shop Sunday Sun 25 Nov, 10.30am – 5pm A great opportunity to find some unique and Christmas gifts (or treat yourself!) with 10% off in our Gift Shop for one day only! Natural Wonders Tree Decorations Sun 2,. Sun 9, Sat 15 & Sun 16 Dec, 11am – 4pm Make your own beautiful decorations out of natural materials found in our grounds to hang on your own tree. BOOK NOW: £5 per person* Spot Santa Sun 2 Dec & sun 9 dec, 1pm – 3pm Father Christmas will be taking time out of his busy schedule to enjoy a couple of days out at Compton Verney with his reindeer – can you spot them in our grounds? Meet the Artist: Jackie Morris fri 7 dec, 11am – 4pm To celebrate the beautiful panel designs by Jackie Morris in our Cafè, Jackie will be present on this day to demonstrate her methods, using gold leaf to complete a painting of a flock of birds. Christmas Concert fri 14 dec, 2.30pm – 3.45pm Join us for a festive concert in our stunning chapel by […]
The expertise of Compton Verney’s team of devoted volunteers has seen the cultural attraction triumph in this year’s West Midlands Museum Development Volunteer Awards during a ceremony at the Birmingham Hippodrome (11 September). Compton Verney won in two categories; the Museum Champion Team Award, for its Forest School Volunteers, and the prestigious overall Judges’ Award. Emily Medcraft, Compton Verney’s Visitor Experience Manager said: “This is a magnificent achievement that demonstrates not only how important our wonderful volunteers are to our operation, but also how the general awareness and recognition of the crucial importance of volunteers’ contributions to our sector is spreading. Without our volunteers’ invaluable expertise, enthusiasm and commitment, we would simply not be able to do half of the things we currently do. I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all our splendid volunteers!” In the Museum Champion Team and Judges Award for Excellence category the judges felt that Compton Verney’s team deserved to win because they had collectively utilised their varied life and professional skills to add an extra dimension to what the gallery offers to its many thousands of visitors. The panel noted: “Without their support these activities wouldn’t happen, they work in all weathers, encouraging […]
Professor Steven Parissien is stepping down from his role as Director of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, after almost a decade at the helm, for a new role as the Executive Director of a museum in Toronto, Canada. Having avoided dereliction in 1993 thanks to the dedication of the late Sir Peter Moores, Compton Verney was fully opened to the public in 2004. The 120-acre site is now a nationally-accredited art gallery and major visitor attraction. During Parissien’s tenure, visitor numbers have more than doubled, elements of the historic Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscape have been restored, and a number of critically-acclaimed and hugely popular exhibitions have been staged. As part of the gallery’s celebrated artistic programme which aims to attract a diverse range of audiences, Parissien himself has curated a string of exhibitions including Turner and Constable (2013), Canaletto in Britain (2015), Britain in the Fifties (2016), and the upcoming Whistler and Nature (opens 20 October). With the express intention of building new audiences, in April 2018 Compton Verney became an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation with funds awarded to support artistic projects in the landscape. During his time as Director, an ambitious building and conservation programme has taken place across […]
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 […]
Welcome to the Landscape & Garden Update – 19.06.18. It’s been a while since we caught up but then, it has been an incredibly busy season thus far. Meadow Flowers The delayed start to spring due to the cold and wet weather seemed to result in the landscape unfurling more slowly and gracefully than ever. From lesser celandine, through cowslips which are coming back very strongly now, to the mass of buttercups; the floral content continues to improve.
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,
Eleanor Hutchison is currently an Art Fund curatorial trainee. After six months at the National Gallery, she’s just taken up a placement with us in Warwickshire. After six months at the National Gallery in London, I have now moved to the Midlands and started working at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. I’m really enjoying getting to know the team here as well as exploring the towns and cities nearby, including Leamington Spa, Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Birmingham, just to mention a few. One of the main projects I’m now working on is the re-display of the Northern European collection. I’m thinking about how to display the works thematically and place them in the context in which they were made during the dramatic period of the German Reformation. I want to present this information in a way that is accessible to all and have been working with Compton Verney’s learning team to get their insights into how different age groups engage with the art on show. I’m also working with curators to put together an exhibition celebrating the artist Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose paintings are a highlight of the collection. In my final weeks in London, I continued to attend re-hangs and installations […]
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 […]
Whilst the exhibitions and the main gallery do not open until Saturday March 17, I take delight in writing this blog post on the very first of the grounds-only open days of the 2018 season at Compton Verney. After a particularly tough winter period where snow and storm force winds have left their mark, I’m glad to say that the paths are swept, the benches have been cleaned, the welcome centre is warm, and the first flowers of the new year stand proudly awaiting their admirers. As an historic property, Compton Verney works in some ways like estates of this size always have, at this moment in time for example, staff are once again busily working indoors to prepare for the season ahead. Staff duties today of course are more about facilities improvement or exhibition preparation, as opposed to beating exotic rugs or buffing up a fireplace grate or twelve! In a less dramatic way the grounds team of today, whilst flexing to take care of elements such as The Clearing, the Woodland Play Area or Bird Hide; have much the same tasks in hand as gardeners would have for the last three hundred years or so. My team continues to evolve the landscape gardens at Compton Verney with a view to embracing all that it is […]
I find myself sitting down for a while after a heavy morning of work putting the courtyard in order, following recent disturbance due to snow clearing. I’m pondering, as I do, what I should create in terms of this, the last Landscape & Garden Update of 2017. It certainly has been a long and very busy two months since my last post, bringing news that for another year Compton Verney attracted higher visitor numbers than the preceding year. A Growing Team Another record breaking year means more people than ever are visiting, seeing, and enjoying the park that the team and I care so much about. Most, but not quite all of the grounds team are to be seen in the image above, when we met for an end of season gathering at our recently finished grounds workshop. The team has grown over the last few years, and has become very adaptable to the many challenges that are thrown our way, but in every instance, there is always a smile on every face and a willing attitude to join in and move things forward. It is largely down to this group above, that the lawns remain green and lush, the paths stay neat and firm, the plantations keep […]
IN-LIGHT II Sat 28 October – Sun 29 October, 6.30pm – 8.30pm Experience an enchanting and contemportary ‘son et lumière’ by light artist Luxmuarlis in Compton Verney’s stunning grounds. This year’s light and sound display draws on poetry and nature in a series of beautiful light projections. This will be a popular event and advanced booking is strongly recommended. Autumn Exhibitions Thu 26 October, 11am – 4pm Visit our two brand new exhibitions: The Lost Words and Quentin Blake: Inside Stories. FREE entry for Members. The Spell Walks Sat 21 October – Sun 17 December, 11am – 5pm Take inspiration from the exhibition and venture out in Compton Verney’s grounds to make your phone go wild with our Lost Words inspired Spell Walks. Experience Jackie and Roberts’ images and words as they appear in nature via two specially commissioned digital trails that can be downloaded straight to your smart phone. Trails are FREE for Members and visitors with a valid Exhibition Day Ticket. The Big Draw Tue 24 – Fri 27 October, 11am – 4pm Drop in to the studio with your family this October Half Term for your chance to create your own images and […]
Welcome to the Landscape & Garden Update – 13.06.17. Mowing As I type both the heat and longer daylight hours continue to stretch forcing maximum growth from plants across the park at Compton Verney. Lawns in particular have been growing strongly for many weeks now, prompting frequent mowing sessions; all in an effort to keep the landscape looking just so. If I’m honest, there are times when we can be overtaken by grass growth, but our machinery has been chosen specially to allow us to ‘catch-up’ if you like, so effectively we are always in control – or so I like to think! Our latest machine acquisition was thankfully supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the on-going project to restore and re-view the ‘Capability’ Brown landscape. Meadows
I have to admit that I had flirted with the idea of spending a week as caretaker in ‘The Clearing,’ the dome shaped building presently beside the lake at Compton Verney. In the end I let the chance pass, so when the opportunity presented itself once again, albeit for just one night – I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Here’s my recollection of one night in The Clearing at Compton Verney.
Welcome to the latest news from the grounds team at Compton Verney – Landscape & Garden Update – 05.04.17. Landscape and Garden Generally speaking, the weather through late winter into spring has been mild, encouraging a steady and more traditional flowering period for plants throughout the grounds. The good quality footpaths we’ve installed over the last few years make Compton Verney a great venue for some early season fresh air, and especially so for wheelchair users (Do check our Access in the park information.) All the paths follow historic and designed routes, meaning you’re never far from a group of flowers in the grass or within the woodland garden areas, and there’s always a significant landscape vista around the next corner – a true landscape garden indeed. spring flowers Over the years, drifts of spring bulbs have been established, and we’ve worked over the last few years to spread these through division and supplementary planting. The horticultural effort over many years is finally coming to fruition now, and for a property that is more often known for its sweeping parkland, lake and stately trees; we’re gradually gaining recognition as a garden property. From early season winter aconites, through snowdrops and hellebores, to daffodils and windflowers; spring offers a surprising variety of blossom […]
Welcome to the latest news from the grounds team at Compton Verney – Landscape & Garden Update – 3.02.17. The grounds team were relieved to reach the end of 2016 following a very hectic year which brought a new Welcome Centre, continual adjustments to the park, creation of a new building for the grounds team and much more.
If butterflies and moths are your thing, or you simply appreciate a good photograph, then this web page titled ‘Winged Visitors to Compton Verney’ is for you. We’re very aware of the rich environment that surrounds us, yet whilst we celebrate its artistic merits, we also embrace its wild side and do all we can to nurture and encourage this. To this end, we endeavour to learn as much as we can about the different species that visit or reside both in the garden and surrounding areas. Awareness is one thing, but increasing our knowledge is another and so this year the grounds team were joined by a volunteer with an eye for butterflies and winged insects in particular. Arthur Owens visited on numerous occasions during the warmer months, and despite a mid season start still managed to record and photograph a good number of species. As little is now to be seen, Arthur assembled his list for us, and a potted version of those that were captured on camera are shown below. The wider list will hopefully expand in coming years and be useful in our management of the outside spaces. We hope that the listed species have been accurately identified, but if you have any comments or […]
Landscape & Garden Update – 25.08.16 – As is often the case, the busiest and most active times for the grounds team at Compton Verney result in less time for blogging and social media. We are however committed to the Landscape Blog and very much see it as an opportunity for the grounds team to speak directly to those who maybe can’t visit as often as they would like. If you are planning a visit however, it is worth knowing that the my monthly grounds walks, this year focused on ‘Capability’ Brown, continue. The tours are the first Thursday afternoon in the month, at 1.30 pm – please book with reception. The Fifties Allotment On almost every visitor agenda just now is the Fifties Allotment that we’ve installed to compliment the on-going Britain in the Fifties, Design and Aspiration exhibition. Little did we know that our modest allotment would be so popular, with visitors asking to look around the plot even before it was due to officially open! The success of the allotment however has been a real team effort, with volunteers being largely responsible for creating the plot we see today. From the initial planting list, I designed a plot that would be as accessible as possible, with as many details as […]
This summer’s Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration exhibition touches on the memories of those who lived through it and those who admire its aesthetic. As much as our exhibition has items loaned from other collections, Compton Verney has the local community to thank too. Without them, the 1950s takeover would not be complete. This week’s #ThrowbackThursday is not about the objects lent to the exhibition itself, but about the refurbishment of our Gallery Café. The Fifties saw to a growing population of coffee guzzlers. It was never rationed during war time as the nation preferred to sip on tea. But with the increasing amount of coffee bars which popped up in London’s Soho, these places were where the youngsters of the day preferred to be. They offered the alternative to the old fashioned tea-rooms and the smoky pubs. It was not long until these coffee bars were spread across the country. In America, these places were at the heart of the Beatnik Movement – mirroring the centrality of the salon during the French Revolution. Aside from the food and drink at the centre of our Coffee Bar 57, what ties it all together […]
One of our recent #CVgrounds volunteer recruits has been out and about photographing Butterflies at Compton Verney in July. With the Old Town Meadow, East Park, and the West Lawn maturing as wild flower meadows, not to mention a good amount of woodland and lake area; we’re rapidly becoming a drop-in centre for most local wildlife which includes some beautiful butterflies! If you’d like a stroll around to see for yourself there’s a link at the bottom of this post to visiting information, and I’d recommend in respect of butterflies visiting before the middle of August, by which time we’ll have cut the larger part of the meadow areas. Tip – a sunny day is by far better for butterfly spotting, with many species only venturing out when the sun shines! Below are a handful of stunning photographs snapped mostly by volunteer Arthur Owens that give a flavour of what can be seen during early July for example. From a grounds management perspective the images and accompanying field notes help to build a picture of butterfly and moth species that live or visit Compton Verney throughout the season, which in turn helps us select the best management options for the many areas available to us. ‘Capability’ Brown, when he completed the re-design of the Compton Verney landscape may or […]
Following on from the successful scything workshop last year, Flora Locale are once again returning to the green and pleasant Compton Verney to deliver a beginners workshop. At this beginner’s workshop you will be personally fitted with a scythe and learn to use and maintain it to efficiently mow your garden, allotment, orchard or meadow. Starting from setting up the scythe, you will discuss safe working practices and then start to mow. Learn to care for your scythe: avoiding damage, sharpening the blade, and peening the edge will be covered in this “hands-on” day. The history of the scythe and its use in maintaining wild flower meadows and ecologically sensitive grassland will be discussed. Time/date of training: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, Wed 20 July 2016 Location: Compton Verney, Warwickshire Facilitator: Clive Leeke Fee: £100.00 / £75.00 The reduced concession price is available for employees and volunteers with charities, parish councils, fulltime students and those not economically active. Bookings/enquiries must be made direct with Flora Locale, on the following link. Click Here!