Don't miss last stunning Wiltshire 'Sculpture in a Landscape'
Above: Penny Hardy's Dancers
Sculpture in a Landscape 1969 - 2020
‘Preparations are now well advanced for the sculpture world’s event of the year and it will be at Aldbourne, a few miles from Swindon. Roger Leigh and his wife Patricia are putting the finishing touches to what promises to be the country’s biggest outdoor exhibition of contemporary sculpture.’
This quote from a local paper refers to Sculpture in a Landscape 1969 an exhibition held that year. According to papers held in the Wiltshire Archives, the exhibition attracted around 3,000 visitors, and was covered by the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers and featured on TV and radio. Eighteen sculptors, all men, including Austin Wright, Hubert Dalwood, Brian Wall, William Pye and Henry Moore, took part.
Above: The first programme cover in 1969
The landscape where this exhibition took place has changed remarkably little and in September contemporary sculptors from across England are joined by a few of those from 1969, and again place their work in six acres of Wiltshire chalk downs.
Sculpture in a Landscape 1969 – 2020 is presented by voluntary organisation Friends of the Garden, which since 2007 has organised six biennial exhibitions in gardens in Wiltshire. This year’s exhibition will be the Friends last, and it will be a retrospective of over 50 artists most of whom have featured in earlier shows. They will be joined by a small group of new graduates, three of whom have taken part in the Friends of the Garden 2020 bursary programme.
Story boards about the 1969 exhibition will be on display in the exhibition and one who took part then, William Pye, will have work for sale in the landscape. He will be well known to many Wiltshire residents for the font installed in Salisbury Cathedral.
Above: William Pye's sculpture in the very first garden sculpture exhibition
The lack of women invited to the 1969 exhibition did not go unnoticed at the time. Afterwards, Barbara Hepworth wrote to Roger Leigh ‘My congratulations on the splendid exhibition of sculpture you appear to have produced. I am at a loss to know why I never received any invitation? It cannot be age as you have included Henry! My best wishes to the family.’ A wonderful put down especially since a number of those taking part had worked with Hepworth as an assistant in her St Ives studio.
Above: Barbara Hepworth's letter to Roger Leigh
Today approximately equal numbers of men and women are represented. All have felt the impact of the Covid19 pandemic. For some materials have been hard to source, others have been denied access to workshops and all have suffered as a result of the postponement or cancellation of shows and the closure of galleries.
Above: Peter Clarke's Occelli
Sculpture is best seen in a landscape or garden setting and the organisers are hoping that their forthcoming show will give a much needed boost to those taking part as well as bringing much needed enjoyment to all who visit.
Sculpture in the Landscape is one of Timeless Travels' favourite exhibitions and so we would urge you to visit and enjoy for the last time, if at all possible. We also send our congratulations and best wishes to the organisers for all their hard work over the years for putting on such magnificent exhibitions.
Sculpture in the Landscape 1969 – 2020
West Leaze, Ogbourne Rd, Aldbourne, Wiltshire
Showing until: 27 September
From 11am – 6pm except on Mondays and Tuesdays when it will be closed.
There is a popup café on site serving light lunches, coffees and teas. Entry is £7.50 including a catalogue, accompanied under 18’s are free.
Free parking is available in an adjacent field. Only assistance dogs are allowed onto the site.
West Leaze is situated on the Marlborough downs on a sloping site with some flat areas but most is grassland with mown paths. Wheelchair access is limited.
All work is for sale. Sculptures will be placed throughout the landscape, and pieces for immediate sale will feature in our popup shop and summerhouse gallery.
Please note in order to allow us to manage visitor numbers tickets must be pre booked on line at www.friendsofthegarden.org.uk where you will also find further details.
The 2014 Sculpture in the Garden exhibition was included in the very first edition of Timeless Travels with an eight page feature.
Don't forget the whole Timeless Travels Collection (24 magazines) is available for just £49.99 - that's just £2.08 each!