‘Beyond Limits’ at Chatsworth House

Published 17 September 2014

Academicians from Antony Gormley to Bill Woodrow are on display in Sotheby’s annual sculpture show at Chatsworth House.

  • Is there anything more wonderful than wandering around the grounds of beautiful British estate and encountering superb sculpture at every turn? I thought not on the beguilingly beautiful early autumn day last week when I visited Beyond Limits, the latest edition of Sotheby’s annual sculpture show at Derbyshire’s Chatsworth House.

    Ranging from the fresh-out-the-foundry – by contemporary artists such as Alice Aycock, Michal Rovner and Christopher Le Brun PRA – to post-war pearls by modern masters such as Germaine Richier, the works on view are, by and large, wonderfully well placed within Chatsworth’s bucolic environment.

    Bill Woodrow RA’s Rockswarm (2001) is a dense cluster of gold-leafed bees in bronze that hovers over a rock, and it’s duly situated in Chatsworth’s rockery – a witty move that the artist himself must admire. Aristide Maillol’s falling female figure La Rivière (1938–40) is set in the centre of Chatsworth’s cascade, as if the water that ribbons over the 24 stone steps is propelling the form forward.

    Other highlights include Le Brun’s Maro, a five-metre wing formed in white marble that contrasts the landscape’s mature trees, and Xu Bing’s installation around a pond in front of the house. This artificial arrangement of rocks and cherry blossom – Tao Hua Yuan: A Lost Village Utopia (2013–14) – apes in miniature, with sincerity, a quintessential Chinese landscape.