Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, GL2 9PA | (01452) 731422
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Gloucestershire is the proud home to Nature in Art, the world’s first museum and art gallery dedicated to works of art inspired by nature.
With an impressive collection of art and artefacts by more than 600 artists and from more than 60 countries, there are plenty of world- class pieces waiting for visitors to discover.
Housed in a Wallsworth Hall, a beautiful Georgian mansion located on the outskirts of Gloucester, the ever-growing permanent collection is also complemented by vibrant temporary exhibitions and artists in residence.
Nature in Art works closely with schools to provide educational programmes and its purpose-built education centre has been broadening children’s artistic horizons and appreciation of nature since it was founded in 1994.
Art fans can enjoy the series of evening events and lunchtime talks that take place throughout the year, or can take part in some of the many art courses on offer, with many run by artists who have work exhibited in the museum.
Visitors can also expect to find a sculpture garden, a coffee shop, children’s indoor and outdoor activity areas and a gift shop.
Offering an abundance of stunning exhibitions throughout the year, Nature in Art near Gloucester provides a feast for the eyes with a collection of images showcasing the beauty of natural forms.
Based in Twigworth on the outskirts of Gloucester, Nature in Art is home to a variety of exhibitions which are sure to be a calendar highlight for local art enthusiasts.
Friday 05 January 2018
SoGlos.com took a walk on the wild side with a visit to the aptly-named Nature in Art – the globe’s very first museum dedicated to art inspired by nature, right here in Gloucestershire.
While most newly-weds are content to receive a toaster or set of matching towels to celebrate their big day, in 1740 Wallsworth Hall – a breathtakingly majestic-looking mansion – was presented by Samuel Hayward to his new wife as a wedding gift.
Fast forward more than 250 years, several extensions, conquered outbreaks of dry rot, changes of hands, and burgeoning bat roosts later, and the mansion remains a symbol of affection – now for the natural world, not new nuptials, as Nature in Art.
Opening in 1988, Nature in Art was the world’s first museum dedicated entirely to art inspired by nature – with a mounting art collection and growing international reputation, as well as tens of thousands of visitors having walked through Wallsworth Hall’s impressive doors over the past two decades.
Nature in Art is justly proud of its permanent collection ‘spanning 1,500 years from over 60 countries and cultures by over 600 artists’ – some of which is always on display, alongside a year-round schedule of temporary exhibitions.
Everything from big cats, scarab beetles, botany and boxing hares were represented in mediums spanning more than just oil paint, photography, porcelain and pencil on our visit. Famous names, including Picasso and Shepherd, unassumingly rubbed shoulders with British jewellery makers and Japanese ceramicists, while interpretive modern abstracts sat side-by-side with centuries old fine works.
This eclectic mix of eyecatchers at Nature in Art was undoubtedly the highlight of our visit, making for an invigorating and stimulating stroll through the separate galleries – where the anticipation of each new discovery made us feel alert with inquisitive investigation, in contrast to the passive herding from one similar piece to the next you sometimes get in more stuffy museums.
The chance to chat to one of the regularly changing artists in residence also proved a pleasant surprise, allowing us the opportunity to pick the brain of the professional quilt maker, as well as see her work in detail – with other visitors hopping on the sewing machine to give the craft a go themselves.
A slice of homemade courgette and stilton quiche, followed by apple crumble with piping hot custard in the dated but quaint coffee shop made for an appetising pit stop. Alongside some of the museum’s other visitors, the lunchtime rush saw a smattering of parents also sit down for a cup of fair trade tea while their little ones made brass rubbings, meaning seating, even mid-week, was at a premium.
A leisurely stroll in Nature in Art’s menagerie of a garden burnt off some of the custard, with Alan Jack’s horseshoe birds, rusty orange seed heads, a soaring albatross with an impressive carved wing span, and a life-sized fibre glass tail of a blue whale lifting out of the green grass all making for evocative talking points.
The chance for energetic kids to clamber on a small wooden play area was also seized by younger visitors to Nature in Art, while ponds for dipping and the wild overgrown surrounds of the open countryside act as a living reminder of the nature represented in the sculptures in the peaceful garden – which should not be missed, whatever the weather.
As we prepared to leave, a quick glance at the visitors book showed accolades galore from gallivanting visitors from all over the globe. From Texas to Tokyo, people passionate about the natural world and the artwork it inspires have trekked to the Twigworth treasure trove. While our car journey paled in comparison, Nature in Art proved all the more impressive for it’s proximity – having a museum of such high international regard in Gloucestershire should not be taken for granted.
Don’t miss SoGlos.com’s Nature in Art photo gallery and, to find out more about visiting Nature in Art for yourself, see nature-in-art.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01452) 731422.
By Michelle Fyrne
Saturday 18 April 2009
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