Archives for posts with tag: On form

May photo: There is so much to delight me whenever I visit Asthall Manor from the gardens, to the sculptures to the history and the links with The Mitford Sisters. This June, treat yourself and visit On Form 2018, an exhibition of contemporary stone sculptures set in these beautiful gardens.

Asthall12lr Asthall14lr Asthall15jlr Asthall13lrAsthall17lrThere were so many details at the On Form but I limit the images on each post so didn’t include these, but I thought you may enjoy seeing more of the On Form Exhibition. There are still two more weekends when you can visit for a marvellous day out.

On Form is at Asthall Manor from June 8th to July 6th, 2014.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 6pm


Asthall lr Asthall2 lr Asthall3 lr Asthall4 lrAsthall9 lrAsthall6 lrWe rushed in at 12:00 on the dot for my daughter to attend the children’s carving workshop and I was overwhelmed by the sculptures, the flowers and the manor house. Once Isabel was sorted out, I could slow down and celebrate the On Form exhibition. On Form is a top priority to visit in June and is a fabulous biennial exhibition of sculpture purely in stone. The glorious setting of the seventeenth century Asthall Manor and beautiful gardens surrounded by the Cotswolds set off the sculptures to perfection.

My favourite sculptor this year was Tom Stogdon who uses roughly cut stone pieces to create organic shapes. They remind me of stone walls where there is much thought and skill in using individual pieces to create a satisfying whole. I love the way his sculptures interact with their surroundings and especially Stone Overlap which frames the countryside, is reflected in the pool and draws people towards it. Tom Stogdon has also created abstracted cityscapes inspired by London and Oxford where we were able to identify landmarks from the simplest shapes. The repetition of forms and texture in his work create a sense of calmness. Another sculptor I appreciated was Aly Brown and her piece Parvati, a slender torso, whose sinuous curves continue as they reflect into a natural pool dotted with lily pads. Aly said that a recent comment she had overheard was, “How does she make stone bend?” When you look at her work it is hard to believe it is stone as it flows like liquid. Then there is Adrian Gray, a stone balancer, and David Worthington’s Experiment in Colour VII who dared to add colour to marble – perfect against the red poppies.

Not only is there sculpture, but ponds, wild flowers, a dramatic swing, a tree house to die for and the connection the manor holds with the Mitford Sisters who lived there between 1919 and 1926. There are many events to enjoy too: Aly Brown gave free carving workshops to children which Isabel loved and on the 18th June you can watch Adrian Gray balance rocks.

I can’t recommend On Form highly enough as a day out whether you are passionate about sculpture or see it as a backdrop for a social occasion – our friend Jon’s words not mine!Asthall7 lrAsthall5 lrAsthall10 lr

Asthall12 lrOn form is at Asthall Manor from June 8th to July 6th, 2014.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 6pm

About this post: My 2014 resolution is to visit a creative place every month.
January – The Ashmolean: Malcolm Morley
February – Oxford School of Photography
March – The Ashmolean: Cézanne and the modern

April – The Jam Factory
May – Art in Ardington



Peahorse Blue

Above are a few more of the beautiful sculptures to be seen at the On Form Exhibition. As lovely as the sculptures are, it is as much of a treat to wander around the lake and grounds of Asthall with its lavender, floppy roses, daisies, lady’s mantles and wildflowers. Asthall Manor dates from the seventeenth century but occupies a medieval site and I first became aware of it through my interest in the Mitford sisters who were its most famous residents and lived here between 1919 – 1926. You can read more about them on this link to a previous blog entry. Do go visit On Form if you are near Oxfordshire, open from 17 June – 15 July 2012.

Asthall Manor garden

Leading to the gardens

Asthall Manor

Moody sculpture in St. Nicholas’ Church

Endless Balance

The ‘ Please do touch’ policy!

Stone parcels wrapped up with rope

My biennial treat – a visit to Asthall Manor to see the Sculpture in Stone Exhibition. Wandering around the glorious grounds, enjoying the sculptures and the way they interact with the landscape, laughing with the children as we hide in the hammock or following secret pathways is a perfect way to spend a summer’s day. My favourite was Endless Balance by Peter Brooke-Ball. Stones were roped up in a tree using pulleys. By pulling one down, you caused another to move upwards and I loved the way the heavy stones appeared weightless and the changed perception of the tree. I love pebbles and these stone parcels wrapped up with rope seemed like enormous beach pebbles. Sculpture with a ‘please do touch’ policy is the perfect way to introduce children to art and asking them what a piece reminds them of can provoke a profound response. There was even a children’s workshop and for two hours they were able to create their own artwork from alabaster while we continued to explore the garden and St. Nicholas’ church. It was there that I really felt I needed a tripod as the low light called for a long shutter speed. But necessity is the mother of invention, and a 300 year old church chair was surreptitiously moved into position and worked well as a substitute tripod to photograph the sculpture.

On Form is open from 17 June – 15 July 2012

Children concentrating in their sculpture workshop