Thursday, 17 June 2010
I've been so caught up with cutting out Limited Edition bears, so that they're ready and waiting, I've had to tear myself away in order to post all about Compton Verney in Warwickshire. This was where we visited on the Saturday before the Stratford Teddy Bear Artist Event.
I already knew that this was an imposing stately home , converted to become an art gallery- an intriguing idea which grabbed my attention when I was researching places to explore.It turned out to be a wonderful decision; a beautiful day, spectacular scenery, history and art combined; who could be disappointed?!
This was a grand family home for 500 years, until it fell in to a derelict state in the early 20th century.It's transformation to a gallery with six permanent collections , and numerous temporary exhibitions took 10 long years , and the Grade2 Listed parkland is still being restored to its former glories.Originally there were 120 acres of grounds; much of it designed by "Capability" Brown (it took this visit for me to find out he actually had the improbable first name: Lancelot !!) and you can explore the grounds, with Browns special "view point" paths and walks for just a £1!
Of course, we couldn't take any photos inside the gallery, but I can tell you that even my 14 year old son was fascinated by the art works, which are well laid out and accompanied by notes everywhere to breathe life in to their essential details.My favourite of the 20 gallery spaces was (no surprise) British Portraits- which had some exquisite portraits of Elizabeth 1st ; one from before her portraiture was bound to include all the symbolic references to her absolute power and wealth, and yet it was exactly the same set of facial features there on the canvas, with her high boned nose ending in a sort of divided "bob", so it must be a faithful rendition of her actual looks! There is also a painting of her father, Henry VII , after Hans Holbein , and a portrait which was interesting to me because it depicted a friend and contemporary of Bess of Hardwick.
I could just witter on; about the British Folk Art section, and the huge Francis Bacon canvases in the temporary galleries , but I'll just sum up by saying it was well worth a visit. From the idyllically tranquil grounds; with its dragonflies, moorhens and herons ( and where some lucky people had hired a huge glass marquee for their wedding celebrations - how romantic!) to the contents of the building itself; all were fascinating. This last photo is my favourite. I really hope to visit again soon.