In Focus: Henry Moore’s art at Houghton Hall, where ancient architecture meets modern art

There’s no better place to appreciate sculpture made to be seen outdoors than in the British landscape, where parks and gardens have been transformed with permanent displays or temporary exhibitions. Mary Miers takes a look at one of the best.

From now until the 29th September, the beautiful Houghton Hall is collaborating with the Henry Moore Foundation to produce ‘Henry Moore at Houghton Hall: Nature and Inspiration’, a major exhibition of the works of a man said to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

The exhibition shows some of Moore’s outdoor pieces in the setting of the great house built by Sir Robert Walpole, now the home of the Marquis of Cholmondeley. ‘Landscape is one of my great obsessions – as well as the figure,’ said Moore, who believed that his work looked best in natural light and open air.

At Houghton Hall, his monumental pieces in bronze and fibreglass look superb against the Palladian architecture, allées of pleached limes and grand, sweeping rides of the deer park, as well as in the more intimate spaces of the formal gardens.

‘Landscape is one of my great obsessions’

Curated by Sebastiano Barassi of the Henry Moore Foundation and sponsored by Gagosian, the show includes, inside the house and South Wing, some of Moore’s smaller works, models, etchings, photographs and film to demonstrate his working development, use of materials and the inspiration he derived from natural objects such as pebbles, bone and flint.

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Lord Cholmondeley said: ‘It is a great accolade for Houghton to have the Henry Moore Foundation involved in this year’s exhibition. We feel honoured that the Foundation are lending such a range of important work and have agreed to curate the show for us.’

Visitors also have the opportunity to see sculpture from Lord Cholmondeley’s own contemporary collection sited in the grounds, including pieces by James Turrell, Richard Long and Rachel Whiteread.

Begun in 1998, the collection is vast, and has paved the way for more contemporary exhibitions to appear at Houghton Hall, including light works by Damien Hirst last year.

This will be the first significant show of the artist’s work in East Anglia.

For more information or to book tickets, please visit www.houghtonhall.com.


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