Glemham Hall hosts a spectacular show of contemporary art
PUBLISHED: 16:19 25 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:20 25 April 2016
The impressive grounds and managed gardens of Glemham Hall, near Saxmundham, are the setting for a spectacular sculpture park and art exhibition next weekend which is being staged to raise funds for Suffolk-based cancer charities.
Art lovers Belinda Gray and Sally Ball are organising one of the UK’s biggest contemporary art and sculpture shows, raising funds for both Breast Cancer Now and Art for Cure. The former is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, dedicated to research and prevention. Art for Cure is a charity set up by Belinda and Sally, following their personal battle with the disease, aiming to provide support and care for breast cancer patients as they undergo treatment.
The event, called Art for Cure, will feature the work of more than 80 leading artists and sculptors including Vanessa Gardiner, Henrietta Dubrey, Rick Kirby, Maggi Hambling, Michael Speller, Carol Peace, Paul Richardson and Jelly Green. The exhibition of sculpture in the grounds and art-work in the house has been designed to feature a mix of top quality national and local talent.
Sally said this was a unique opportunity to not only see some of the greatest contemporary art but also an opportunity to buy works. Each exhibitor has agreed to donate a percentage of their sales to support the charity. Positioned in pride of place outside the front of the hall is Rick Kirby’s sculpture The Soaring Figure. “This magnicent figure comes to us from The Breakthrough Cancer Garden from The Chelsea Flower Show last year. It is for sale and makes for a startling welcome to everyone arriving at the hall.”
In addition to the exhibition of work by professional artists there is an online auction of work by more than 30 celebrities as part of a Make Your Mark strand. Among the famous names who have made their mark and donated work are Ed Sheeran, Andy Murray, Elizabeth Hurley, Dominic West, Jim Broadbent, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Una Stubbs, Dame Joan Collins, Delia Smith, Imelda Staunton, Yotam Ottolenghi and Gaby Roslin.
“We are so grateful that these busy people took time out to create something special for us. They are all very creative but some are amazing. Judi Dench and Una Stubbs, in particular, could easily have a second career,” Sally said.
“It’s important to add that because all the canvases have been donated all the proceeds from the auction will go directly to our charity. So we’d urge everyone to go to the website, take a look and place a bid. This is an opportunity to own a little bit of stardom and, who knows, one day that nice piece of celebrity artwork will become a family heirloom.”
You can place bids and see the Make a Mark celebrity artwork online at http://artforcure.org.uk/makeyourmark/
This year’s Art for Cure event follows in the footsteps of its remarkable success in 2014 when Art for Cure was first launched. Sally said that the event is an opportunity to not only do something positive to try to fight the disease but to also bring a national focus to Suffolk as a place to encounter the very best contemporary art.
“My friend Belinda Gray finished her treatment for breast cancer in 2013 and she approached me to help her organise something to raise funds for research. We both love art, so we thought an art and sculpture show would be a good idea. Then four or five months into setting up that show I was also diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a really strange twist of fate. I then embarked on the same treatment that she had been on which finished in time for the first show in 2014.
“We had hoped that we would raise £10,000, perhaps £20,000 at a push, but in actual fact, over the course of that weekend we sold £100,000 worth of art and were able to donate that to the Breakthrough cancer charity.
“We knew that we wanted to do it again but we wanted to make it special. So we’ve had a two-year gap, during which time we went looking for spectacular venues, and then we came across Glemham Hall which is amazing. They have let us create a sculpture park in their grounds and have opened up the house to us for the art exhibition. They have been so supportive and we can’t thank them enough.
“This is something special and we are hoping that huge numbers of people will turn out to support us and enjoy what will be one of the great art events of the year.”
Sally said they were very aware of having a range of work that would suit a wide variety of pockets. “There are some very expensive works for sale but also some incredibly reasonable pieces. They come in all shapes and sizes and using all sorts of media. It’s taken two years to pull this together and we have works by some of the greatest artists, both locally and nationally, all brought together in one exhibition over one weekend.”
She added they both hope the Art For Cure events will continue but they would work hard to make sure the event changed over time. “The trick is to keep it fresh. You don’t want to do the same thing each time and that requires planning and that takes time.”
She said she was so pleased that the sculpture park and the Make Your Mark auction gave this event a very different feel to the last event. “You want things to be different. That’s what attracts people.
“Art for Cure means an incredible amount to us, it’s not just an exhibition – it’s a show which brings together so much talent from across the country and lets the community be part of it. We have over 40 businesses supporting us and 100 volunteers signed up to help over the weekend. It’s a real team effort and it’s for a really good cause.”
Art For Cure is at Glemham Hall, on the A12 between Saxmundham and Marlesford, from Saturday, April 30 to Monday, May 2, 10am-5pm.
The online Make Your Mark celebrity auction can be found at: http://artforcure.org.uk/makeyourmark/ It closes at 7pm on Sunday, May 8.
A Sculptor in the Grounds
Sculptor Vanessa Stollery is busily turning out bronze robins which will be affixed to the handles of vintage garden implements. Sitting outside her studio, which is located behind Glemham Hall and its formal gardens, is a full-sized bronze foal.
Sitting patiently by some flower pots, basking in the sun, is a sculpture of a labrador puppy.
All these animals have a startling life-like quality to them. The look on their faces, the way they stand or sit extend a sense of personality.
Vanessa is pleased when I tell her this. “I’m pleased,” she beams, “When I do a commission I always spend time getting to know the animal. If I am doing a beagle, for example, I create a generic beagle to begin with and then get the owner to bring in the dog, so I can get to know him.
I spend a couple of sessions with them, interacting, taking loads of photos, so I can get a feel for the personality of the animal.
“Once I feel I know them, I can make changes to the basic sculpture which turns a generic animal into a specific 3-D portrait of my subject.
So finding and understanding the personality of an animal is at the heart of what I do.”
Vanessa has been hiring her studio in the grounds of the hall for the past eight years. She says it gives a beautiful place to work, allowing her freedom to come and go while also giving her space to work on largescale commissions.
“Being invited to take part in the Art for Cure is really exciting and very special. I am creating flocks of these little robins which will be very affordable and if someone wants one to remember a loved one, then I am happy to attach one to a fork or a spade or some large garden tool. Then it can be positioned in someone’s garden as a unique memorial.”
Although Vanessa’s main work is doing body casts and creating bronze animal sculptures, she says she didn’t originally train as a sculptor but instead did an illustration degree. “I had a year out and during that year decided to train with a local sculptor, Miles Robinson, and I never looked back.”
She said that although sculpture is now her main work, she still paints. “I always have a painting on the go and I am sure I will go back to painting.
I love the idea of having more than one string to your bow.”