Issue Number: 92
Art breaks out
Emma Crichton-Miller applauds a new kind of sculpture show in the spectacular landscape of Chatsworth House
Henry Moore once remarked, ‘Sculpture is an art of the open air. Daylight, sunlight is necessary to it, and for me its best setting and complement is nature.’ Increasingly you can find contemporary sculpture in natural landscapes, whether at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Roche Court, Burghley House, Ragley Hall or amid ancient woodland at Goodwood. It is not just the play of light but the sense of scale, too, offered by trees, lakes, hills and valleys, often themselves shaped by an ingenious landscape designer, that enhances the drama of the best monumental sculpture.
The Glass Boat, 2006, by Dale Chihuly, on the lake at Chatsworth
This autumn, Sotheby’s is mounting a major selling exhibition of modern and contemporary sculpture at Chatsworth, home of the Duke of Devonshire. A director of Sotheby’s and collector of contemporary sculpture, which is placed throughout the grounds at Chatsworth, the Duke has made the estate available to curator Janice Blackburn: ‘We have placed Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture in the cascade, a Jaume Plensa bronze in a greenhouse and a specially commissioned Dale Chihuly glass boat on the lake. The Duke is keen for us to get the Antony Gormley maquette for the Angel of the North onto the roof,’ she explains.
While one impulse is to tempt new visitors to Chatsworth, another is to inspire a new generation of collectors. As Blackburn puts it, ‘We hope people will be stimulated by seeing these pieces beautifully installed in the grounds. The context breathes life into the work.’ In turn, the work breathes life into Chatsworth, reminding visitors that the unbroken history of patronage that reaches back to the early eighteenth century also points to the future.
Beyond Limits: Sotheby’s at Chatsworth, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire (01246 565300), 8 Sep–27 Oct
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