GUNBY BLOG Collected, Captured, Cast
A First Look at Gunby Hall
I have embarked on an exciting new project this Spring, which culminates in an exciting month-long exhibition at Gunby Hall Hall & Gardens in Lincolnshire in August of this year.
It all started with a message from a fellow-artist, Su France (a silver jeweller) via Instagram, inviting me to be part of an exhibition. The location would be a National Trust property in Lincolnshire later in the year and it would possibly involve a third artist, but they had yet to confirm. I agreed to have a think about it and call back with my decision. Well, after a quick bit of research on Gunby Hall, it didn’t take long to decide. I already loved Su’s work and had been thinking how great it would be to find a like-minded artist(s) to organise an exhibition with. Lastly it was to take place at a National Trust property - what a rare privilege. Well, of course, the answer was yes. The Third artist, Helen Wilde (aka @ovobloom), also confirmed and so the ball was set rolling ….
Gunby Hall was the home of the Massingberd family for more than 250 years from 1700 to the 1960's. It was donated to The National Trust in 1944 to save it from being demolished to make room for an extension to a near-by airfield as part of the war effort. It was described by Tennyson in his 1832 poem, The Palace of Art, as ‘a haunt of ancient peace’. A sentiment, I would definitely agree with.
It is a journey of about two-and-a-half hours from my Hertfordshire home to Gunby, which is not far from Skegness, so not somewhere you can just pop along to visit on the spur of the moment. However, I felt that I did need to go and visit the Hall and Gardens to get a good idea of both the Orchard Gallery exhibition space and the surrounding gardens and landscape. It would be a chance to draw first-hand inspiration for the work I was going to do for the exhibition.
I don’t think I would have ever discovered Gunby Hall on my own. I hadn’t really visited Lincolnshire at all before. However, the place had an instant attraction as my daughter and I first caught a glimpse of the house as we approached along the driveway. It was a cold, grey day but there was a real sense of atmosphere. The house itself wasn’t actually open to the public yet, but Su France had arranged that we could have a peak around the grounds and a look around the gallery space that we would be exhibiting, which was in fact a former squash court! We also met with staff at Gunby to discuss our exhibition.
I took various photos of the house and gardens, and some details to get my thinking process going. I was left with a real sense of place; a ‘presence’ even - my 8-year-old daughter was similarly struck.
It felt like a good experience and formed a starting point for my art work. It was important to have met my fellow-exhibitor, Su, as well and feel that we shared a similar passion for plants, photography, art and the small details in life.
I will be writing more posts during the lead up to the exhibition in August, including details about my work in progress, the other artists involved and Gunby.
Have you visited Gunby Hall before – what impression did it leave on you?