New Archaeological Excavations at Chedworth Roman Villa

A team of National Trust archaeologists are carrying out new excavations at Chedworth Roman Villa during the last two weeks in August.

(c) National Trust Images - Paul Harris

Previous excavations at Chedworth © National Trust Images/ Paul Harris

Between 19 – 30 August visitors at Chedworth Roman Villa will have the opportunity to observe live archaeology and see Roman mosaic floors in the North range being uncovered that have never been on show before.

The excavations will be directed by National Trust archaeologist Dr Martin Papworth and advised by Professor Simon Esmonde-Cleary and Professor Peter Salway.

As Dr Martin Papworth explains: ‘Our aim is to evaluate the nature and quality of the surviving archaeology and see what other excavations will be needed both in archaeological and conservation terms.

‘We know this area was dug just over 50 years ago but records haven’t survived. We believe the mosaics and remains on the north range are at least as extensive and interesting and those now protected by the new West range building. So we want to assess exactly what is there and decide how best to protect them. If we are able to build another cover building, these digs will show exactly where to place it and how big it would need to be to protect the most important and fragile remains in this part of the villa.”

In 2012 Chedworth Roman Villa opened a new conservation building over the West side of the site. The new cover structure has enabled more rooms and corridors of mosaics to be displayed to the public, accessed on suspended walkways, with new interpretation and improved conservation of the Roman Villa remains. The project has recently picked up one of the three Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards for the South West and was one of the only two UK projects shortlisted for the prestigious World Architecture Awards.

‘The new archaeological digs are very exciting for all our staff, volunteers and visitors alike, and everyone is very curious of what will be uncovered next,’ says Sigute Barniskyte, Visitor Services Co-ordinator for the National Trust at the Villa. ‘The villa has been in the care of the National Trust since 1924, but it still holds many secrets and treasures that have not been accessed yet. These excavations will reveal answers to many questions that we still have about the site.’

The archaeological investigations this August are planned to bring a start to a programme of several years of summer excavations at the Villa. The mosaic floors that are uncovered this month will be covered up again after careful examination. Therefore anyone interested in seeing them is encouraged to visit during the last two weeks in August.

For more information about the Villa please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chedworth

Art Exhibition the open west 2013 at Newark Park

Newark Park 6 July to 18 August 
Cheltenham Art Gallery + Museum | 12 October to 6 November

Photo © Phillipa Klaiber

‘Cloud Chamber’ by Beatrice Haines

An exhibition of contemporary art, bringing together the work of 46 artists, is being put on show at the National Trust’s hidden Cotswold gem, Newark Park.

For 2013 the open west will be exhibiting at two distinctly different venues – Newark Park and Cheltenham Art Gallery. Lyn Cluer Coleman and Sarah Goodwin have curated the exhibition which crosses a wide spectrum of art disciplines; from contemporary portraiture to cgi video, from feather installation to ceramic tableaux, from digital tapestry to complex drawing structures and from site specific architectural investigations to ephemeral foil sculptures.

An annual open competition and exhibition, the open west invites work from national and international artists practising contemporary and conceptual art. Continuing an exploration of fine art forms, the selection of work for 2013 examines the skills of the contemporary maker and includes experimental and digital technologies together with traditional processes.

Newark Park provides an unusual setting for the open west exhibition, opening on 6 July by allowing the artworks to be displayed among the existing collections in the house.

Jenny Rogers, Newark’s House and Visitor Experience Manager said: “Newark is an intriguing and fascinating house but it has been transformed by having the artworks installed here. It’s also really exciting that some of the artwork is actually inspired by NewarkPark. The pieces are found in a variety of settings from bedrooms and drawing rooms to walled gardens and ante-chambers. This is a challenging and exciting exhibition and having it here is already adding to the history and story of Newark Park, in particular our previous tenants’ commitment to collecting and commissioning new works of art.”

The exhibition will be on display at Newark Park until 18 August.

In October the open west will then move to Cheltenham Art Gallery + Museum as part of the opening exhibition programme after a significant new build and re-development. This is a unique opportunity to show work selected by the open west throughout varied permanent and temporary exhibition spaces. The themes of making and materiality will resonate strongly with Cheltenham’s important Arts & Crafts collections. Work will be exhibited in public gallery spaces, projection areas, the roof terrace and within existing collections.

Artists include:

Rebecca Turner lives and works in Cheltenham –  Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at University of Gloucestershire (2008) and BA in Fine Art Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art (2011). Has work in the Saatchi collection, and has exhibited internationally. About her work: “The space around us and the way we move through it plays a key role within my work. Dead Air is a large mass that is placed within the path of the viewer and asks them to negotiate and move through the space in a different way. The large astronomical forms which I associate in unlikely ways to surrounding objects and architecture can be somewhat baffling“.

Kim Francis lives and works in Stroud –  Foundation Diploma (1994) and  a BA in Jewellery Design (1998) at Central St Martins. Kim’s work has grown from jewellery to sculpture. She has developed her modelling and metalwork skills through working in foundries, and her carving skills through frequent trips to Italy where she carves marble. She is now an established sculptor working in bronze and marble, as well as paper and ceramics. About her work: “Her exploration of decay and regeneration is in contrast to her interest in the structural beauty of organic forms which she celebrates in her stone carving. Notions of beauty and ugliness are challenged within these two aesthetics“.

Beatrice Haines lives and works in Wiltshire and London –  BA in Illustration with Animation at Manchester School of Art (2008) and an MA in Fine Art Printmaking at the Royal College of Art (2010). A Fellow of the Royal Academy and recent artist in residence at Marlborough College. About her work: “The element of surprise is integral to my work. The viewer is often tricked into a false sense of security through the transformation of the subject matter into a detailed and embellished artwork that has undergone hours of scrutiny“.

William Lindley lives and works in Brighton –  MA in Architectural Design at the University of Edinburgh (2000) and an MA in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (2006). William is the co-founder of Fourthland, delivering and developing plans for reforming public spaces. His practice is currently concerned with exploring the evolution of place and landscape and its impact on people. Taking exhibition venue Newark Park as a source for investigation he is developing a site specific installation titled New Work incorporating drawings, intaglio on wood and film

Virgile Ittah and Hitomi Kai Yoda work as a collaborative artistic practice, both currently live and work in London. Virgile (born in France) MA in Photography at Speos, Paris (2011) and an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (2013); Hitomi (born in Japan) BA in Environmental Information at KBO University, Kanagawa, Japan (2006) and an MA in Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art (2011). Both are recipients of major awards and have exhibited internationally. Their current project focuses on a meditation on the nature of power and control within human relations, through a ghost-like fabric floating in the air filled with balloons. In addition to a series of photographic works, Ittah and Yoda are developing a temporary performance artwork for the opening weekend of the exhibition

Nicholas Lees lives and works in Hampshire –  BA in Ceramics at Bristol Polytechnic (1992), an MA Ceramics at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (1997) and an MPhil at the Royal College of Art (2012).  His work has been exhibited widely in the UK and overseas and is held in private and public collections including York City Art Gallery, Westerwald Keramikmuseum in Germany and Royal Caribbean International.  About his work: “Investigation into cast shadows as an example of a two to three dimensional transition have led me to focus on the penumbra, the boundary between light and shade“. His porcelain objects cast exquisite, finely engineered shapes and shadows.

Artemis Herber‘s single segments of painted cardboard create safe, warm realms . They are pliable, easily formed and changeable; inclusive, exclusive and interactive. The material used is visibly imperfect and vulnerable.

Caroline Gorick‘s investigations take shape in the form of large oil on paper paintings of objects found in modern shopping centres, casinos and hotels; elaborate spaces designed to visually intoxicate.

Daniel Richardson lives and works in Cornwall – HND in Fine Art Practice and FDA in Fine Art at CornwallCollege (2001/2007). He produces large scale, multi textured and layered paintings using a range of cross cultural iconographic references to explore personal and shared narratives.

Kate MccGwire lives and works in London –  BA in Fine Art at University for the Creative Arts, Farnham (2001) and an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (2004). Kate is an internationally recognised artist who creates spectacular sculptures using feathers (often from pigeons), a medium both repulsing and attracting in equal measure. “The finished work has a consistent ‘otherness’ to it that places it beyond our experience of the world, poised on a threshold between the parameters that define everyday reality.” Kate is installing a site specific work titled Heave in the Panelled Room at Newark as well as showing free standing pieces

Julia Winter‘s stark installation Parade presents rows of black trousers as a symbol of uniformity and absolute dependence and the surrender of individuals to a system

Juliette Losq employs shifts in scale and detail to evoke an uncertain world in which the uncanny can coexist with the mundane. Her drawing style, where the image is built up in multiple layers, references watercolour and etching processes

Jaana Fowler‘s still life compositions in cement, steel and wood offer a surprising contrast between the monumentality of the medium and the lightness of the form.

More information is available on theopenwest.org.uk and at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/newarkpark

Minchinhampton Commons mark 100 years of National Trust care

 

©National Trust Images/David Noton

Minchinhampton

An evening celebrating the centenary of Minchinhampton Common in Stroud being cared for by the National Trust will bring together commoners, conservationists and archaeologists to celebrate the open countryside.

The event “100 Years of Caring” is at the Subscription Rooms on Friday evening (17 May) and will raise awareness of the common’s unique heritage and to highlight how everyone can help protect it for generations still to come.

It is the start of a summer of celebrations which mark 100 years since the National trust first acquired part of the commons, to prevent further expansion of quarrying which local people feared with ruin the commons.

Today the commons are recognised as important for wildlife and for allowing people to get outdoors and closer to nature.

The evening at the Subscriptions rooms will be hosted by Simon Larkins, the National Trust General Manager for Gloucester Countryside. He will introduce Terry Robinson, Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee Chairman and Peter Gardiner Grazing Committee Chairman.

Also speaking will be Matthew Oates, the National Trust’s nature conservation expert, David Thackray, former head of archaeology with the Trust and geologist Mark Campbell.

On show during the evening will be a selection of specially commission photographs of the commons today by professional photographer Ruth Davey from Stroud.

The history of Minchinhampton is currently being researched by the Amberley Archive Group and some early results of their work will be on show as well. Their research has uncovered details of the original purchase of the commons by the National Trust which acquired 600 acres of Minchinhampton Common for the princely sum of £1,250 in 1913.

The group will be displaying the full results of its work at its own exhibition at Amberley Parish Rooms from August 24-26.

Also later in the year celebrations will continue with a free Beating the Bounds walk on 26 August in which the community can take part. In October will be an art exhibition celebrating the commons.

Simon Larkins, the National Trust General Manager said: “The commons have so much value today for Stroud and Gloucestershire that we are indebted to the far sighted visionaries who saw the need to protect them 100 years ago. Whether it is for the wild life such as the rare plant species and the butterflies they sustain or simply for having such a valuable open space to escape to for the benefits of a walk in the countryside, we know that Minchinhampton is as important, if not more so, to the people who live close by than it was back in 1913.”

The volunteer Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee helps the National Trust safeguard the common.

Committee chairman Terry Robinson said over 100,000 people visited the “fabulous and beautiful oases of green ground and fresh blowy air” every year.

“They are keeping up a tradition that has gone on for longer than the century we are celebrating,” he said. “The commons are imprinted on the minds of people who loved and romped on them as children.  They are precious to us all for the wonderful experience and refreshment we find there.”

Mr Robinson said the common was also home to some of the rarest and most prized plants and animals to be found in the Cotswold limestone hills.

Further centenary events will be a special display by the National Trust at Minchinhampton Country Fayre on September 14 and an exhibition of original artwork inspired by the common at the Subscription Rooms George Room Gallery on October 4 and 5.

Tickets for “100 Years of Caring” are available now at the Subscription Rooms box office on 01453 760 900 or www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk.

Minchinhampton Commons mark 100 years of National Trust care

Centenary celebrations are underway as countryside lovers mark 100 years of the National Trust’s ownership of Minchinhampton Common in Stroud.

(c) National Trust Images / David Noton

Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire

A special event “100 Years of Caring” is planned next month (May) at the Subscription Rooms to raise awareness of the common’s unique heritage and to highlight how everyone can help protect it for generations still to come.

Volunteers have joined Trust staff in planning the evening, for which tickets have just gone on sale.

Later in the year there’ll also be free a Beating the Bounds walk in which the community can take part.

Fans of local history are helping too. Research by the Amberley Archive Group has discovered that the National Trust purchased the 600 acres of Minchinhampton Common for the princely sum of £1,250 in 1913.

The group will be displaying a taster of its findings at “100 Years of Caring” before holding its own exhibition at Amberley Parish Rooms from August 24-26..

The volunteer Minchinhampton and Rodborough Commons Advisory Committee helps the National Trust safeguard the common.

Committee chairman Terry Robinson said over 100,000 people visited the “fabulous and beautiful oases of green ground and fresh blowy air” every year.

“They are keeping up a tradition that has gone on for longer than the century we are celebrating,” he said. “The commons are imprinted on the minds of people who loved and romped on them as children.  They are precious to us all for the wonderful experience and refreshment we find there.”

Mr Robinson said the common was also home to some of the rarest and most prized plants and animals to be found in the Cotswold limestone hills.

A series of experts, including Mr Robinson, will talk about Minchinhampton Common’s geology, butterflies, archaeology, history, grazing more at “100 Years of Caring”.

Further centenary events will be a special display by the National Trust at Minchinhampton Country Fayre on September 14 and an exhibition of original artwork inspired by the common at the Subscription Rooms George Room Gallery on October 4 and 5.

Tickets for “100 Years of Caring” are available now at the Subscription Rooms box office on 01453 760 900/www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk.

 

Newark Park Garden now fully open

The Glade – the bulb-filled woodland walk through the gardens at Newark Park near Wotton-under-Edge has been re-opened following repairs and footpath improvements. 

(c) National Trust / Roger May

The Garden at Newark Park

Wet, windy weather and essential tree maintenance work led to the mid-level of the garden, known as ‘The Glade’, being closed by the National Trust as the ground was too damaged for visitors to walk on.

The re-opening has coincided with the daffodils flowering throughout the garden at Newark, and the wild garlic just starting to push through.

Jenny Rogers, the National Trust’s House and Visitor Experience Manager said that waiting for the rain to stop so works could begin to rectify the damage was a thankless task.

“We were interrupted with snow and flooding but with the recent cold snap we have been able to level out the ground and lay a sturdier surface through the glade to allow full access once again. There are still a few snowdrops around, the daffodils are about to open and soon we will see Wild Garlic springing up and filling the space with their abundant white flowers and distinctive scent.”

With walks around the terraced woodland garden taking in the romance of follies, springs, and our lakeside summerhouse, Newark is regarded by many as perfect for relaxing and taking in the breath-taking views of the surrounding Gloucestershire countryside.

A little further afield there are also three way-marked estate walks which lead down the valley overlooked by the house. Perfect for springtime the Green route takes you past a burbling brook and you may even see new lambs if you’re lucky. Leaflets with the walks in are available from NewarkPark.

NewarkPark opens 11am-5pm last entry 4.30pm, Wed – Sun and Bank Holidays. Find out more by visiting our website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/newarkpark

‘Tis the season to be jolly…

This year, for the first time, we are giving you a very special Christmas present in the form of an on-line advent calendar. Behind the doors you will find a range of exciting Christmas recipes, gift ideas, films, stories, special offers, things to make and lots of suggestions for activities for all the family over the festive period.

 There will also be a daily free prize draw to win a special gift to help you get in the festive spirit. Each day there will be the chance to win something different – from rugs and jigsaws to tins of biscuits and Christmas decorations. 

 Visit Christmas advent calendar and get opening those doors.

More National Trust places staying open into the winter during 2012

The traditional image of National Trust properties closed up for winter is being shaken up with more open than ever before in the run up to Christmas.

Many National Trust places will be choosing to spend the winter welcoming visitors rather than hiding behind closed shutters and under dustsheets. The grand houses will be open at weekends until Christmas while shops, restaurants and countryside places have extended opening hours. 

In Somerset, the house at Barrington Court is open five days a week, Montacute is running special tours to see conservation work being done and Lacock Abbey cloisters and the museum are open seven days a week.

“Some still think that Trust places are still closed from October to Easter but that image is far from the truth with more each year being brought to life to celebrate Christmas. People looking for something different to do at this time of year really enjoy the weekend opening which is now common – with thanks to our army of volunteers who have rallied round to help,” said Shona Owen, National Trust Marketing Manager.

“For some places, Christmas can be as busy as August, and in recent years, this encouraged us to look at winter as a whole. Many National Trust places open fully from February or March – the days when Easter marked the start of the season are only a dim memory for us now!”

In Somerset several opening times have been extended for this year. At Montacute House, for the first time, visitors will be able to book onto special behind the scenes tours to see the work that is done in the house over winter by conservators.  There are guided tours between noon and 2pm every Saturday and Sunday, led by volunteers. The tours are in addition to a range of events including “Hug a husky” on 1 December and of course a chance to visit Santa in his grotto.

Because Barrington Courtis not furnished, it is not subject to the same limitations on the number of hours of light allowed as Montacute and is staying open for five days a week until the 23rd December. The estate, shop and catering will open from 10am until 4pm and Court House from 11am until 3.30pm.

Tyntesfield is open every day for visitors with two legs and four to explore the gardens, estate walks and the shop and restaurant at Home Farm. The house at Tyntesfield is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3 to 19 December for a Victorian Christmas. Although only the ground floor and the chapel will be open, the house will be decorated in a Victorian Christmas theme.

Dunster Castle is open on the weekends until Christmas

 At Stourhead in Wiltshire, for the rest of 2012, the garden is open everyday from 9-5 except on Christmas day. The house re-opens, decorated for Christmas, on the long weekends from 30Nov to 3 Dec and 7 – 10 Dec and then from 14 to 22 Dec – all from 11am- 3pm.

 In the North Cotswolds, Hidcote will be open at weekends from 11am until 4pm right up until 16 December while near Cirencester, Chedworth Roman Villa has its last day of opening on Sunday 2nd December

In Dorset, for the first time ever, Kingston Lacy opens its doors this winter.  The entrance and servants halls decorated for Christmas with the opportunity to meet Father Christmas on the first three weekends of December from 11am to 3pm

More information is available on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southwestchristmas which has its own virtual advent calendar launching on 1 December

See the Enchanted Garden in a new light

Hidcote Manor Garden is to open its doors after dark this month (November) allowing visitors to enjoy the ‘garden of rooms’ in an entirely new light. 

The Enchanted Garden event illuminates the garden, bathing it in artistic lights and has been growing in popularity since it was first tried two years ago.

Hidcote, in the heart of the north Cotswolds near Chipping Campden, is one of the most admired twentieth century arts & crafts gardens. It is usually open for visitors during the day however the National Trust is now encouraging people to enjoy an entirely new aspect of Hidcote with the opportunity to see one of England’s greatest gardens by night.

A professional lighting production company will work in partnership with Hidcote to create a breathtaking and unforgettable experience for everyone to enjoy.

The exterior of the manor house, outhouses in the courtyard and approximately one third of the 10.5 acre garden will be artistically and creatively lit, taking visitors on a journey throughout some of the famous and most loved areas of  Hidcote.

Mike Beeston, the National Trust’s General Manager at Hidcote, said: “This has proved to be a hugely popular event. We find people really love being immersed in the magical atmosphere created by intricately lit plants and shrubs and some of our most magnificent trees flooded with colour. It is a delight for both adults and children alike who really enjoy the opportunity to let their imagination run away, into a world where our statues and their shadows come to life and the plants which have normally gone to bed for the winter take on a new life of their own.”

A visitor last year said “Thanks to all the cheery volunteers and the lighting artists who transformed the garden into an absolutely stunning and breathtakingly mystical and quite magical place. It was so beautifully done and we had a fantastic time”.

Groups are welcome as well as families and individuals. Visitors are advised to follow the special route within the garden and stewards will be on hand to help with directions. Sturdy shoes and warm clothing are suggested and bringing a torch may be beneficial but is not essential. Parking is free of charge. Assistance dogs are welcome within the garden and there is also an optional level access route.

The Cedar Tree Restaurant will be open throughout the evenings with hot and cold drinks and light snacks available to purchase, giving visitors the perfect opportunity to get into the festive spirit with a mince pie, a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate. The shop will also be open for a spot of leisurely Christmas shopping without the hassle of the high street crowds.

On Fri 16, Sat 17, Sun 18, Fri 23, Sat 24 and Sun 25 November 2012, 5pm – last admission 8pm 

Admission is £6 per adult, £4 per child and £18 per family (members and non-members). Hidcote Manor Garden, Hidcote Bartrim, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6LR.

Further details are available from www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote or by calling Pamela Johnston (Events & Functions Coordinator) on 01386 439801.