Sunday, July 06, 2008

Compton Verney

Yesterday day time, we drove down to Warwickshire to visit Compton Verney, which is a real gem of an art gallery near Stratford. They have an excellent show on at the moment - The Fabric of Myth - exploring the ways in which fabric and weaving are at the core of Greek myth (Penelope, the Three Fates, Ariadne, Arachne etc.) The show included a Louise Bourgoise and the famous felt suit by Joseph Beuys (image to the left). I can never look at a suit hanging up without thinking of this image, so it was lovely to see it in the cloth.

The Verney family have an interesting background - owners of the estate for 500 years until the money ran out in the 1920s. Early on, the family split between Tudors and Stewarts, Protestants and Catholics, with brother fighting brother in the Civil War. The grounds were designed by Capability Brown (he must have been a busy landscape designer back then).

The permanent collection includes some major paintings from Chequers (the Prime Minister's pad in the Chilterns) - Henry 8, wives and kids, as well as a striking series of still-lives and landscapes from 18th century Naples.

On the way up to Birmingham to see Pentangle, we meant to stop at The Boot, but we couldn't find it. That'll be next time.

All in all, an absorbing and inspiring day out.


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