“It is a plaything-house... and it is the prettiest bauble you ever saw.”
Horace Walpole, June 1747

Sculpture by Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill

Presented in Association with the New Art Centre, Roche Court

The Strawberry Hill Trust has invited Stephen Feeke, Director of the New Art Centre, Roche Court, to curate the Strawberry Hill's first exhibition of contemporary art in the grounds and house. Curator Stephen Feeke runs the programme at Roche Court and has also curated exhibitions at Chatsworth with Sir Anthony Caro and at Waddesdon Manor with Edmund de Waal. He was formerly a curator at the Henry Moore Institute.

The exhibition, Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill, will run from 20 June – 6 November 2015 (Press View: Friday 19 June 2015) and will mark the end of the second wave of the award-winning restoration of the interiors at Strawberry Hill.

The artist, Laura Ford, is well-known for her portrayals of animals, with which she explores aspects of the human condition, though in fact Ford describes her own work as sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals. Her figures are faithful representations of fantasy together with a nightmarish imagination and she uses humour and an acute observation to engage with social and political issues. Ford’s work is particularly well-suited to the history and atmosphere of Strawberry Hill, pairing well with the castle’s Gothic architecture and the sensibilities of its creator, Horace Walpole.

At this Strawberry Hill exhibition, Ford will showcase a series of new bronze sculptures called ‘Days of Judgement’ for which her starting point was Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden’. In Ford’s postlapsarian vision, however, the characters of Adam and Eve are reconfigured as a group of very tall, skinny cats. Pacing through the grounds at Strawberry Hill in various states of deep thought, these cats appear like a group of existential poets gripped by their own inner anxieties. The cats, silhouetted against the white façade of the building, will generate an atmosphere of courtliness but their featureless faces will convey an uncanny blankness onto which we will also be able to project our own concerns. Inside the house, a number of new works have been carefully selected to suit the different interiors including some of Ford’s best known sculptures. New works will include a specially-designed group of Waldegrave poodles based on Reynold’s famous portrait of ‘The Ladies Waldegrave.’ Further, Ford is also planning to present a Rapunzel-like figure leaning over the round tower.

We are honoured to host the impressive artwork of Laura Ford. Ford studied at Bath Academy of Art from 1978–82 which included a term at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York. She was included in New Contemporaries in 1983 before attending Chelsea School of Art and The Sculpture Show at the Hayward and Serpentine Galleries while she was still a student. She participated in The British Art Show 5 and in 2005 she represented Wales in the Venice Biennale. She has work in major collections around the world including Tate; National Museums and Galleries of Wales; Museum of Modern Art, University of Iowa; the Arts Council, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has recently completed two major public commissions for Southmeads Hospital, Bristol, and the University Hospital, Heidelberg.

Laura Ford at Strawberry Hill will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue with specially commissioned essays by Dr Judy Collins and Stephen Feeke. The exhibition has been supported by Lord and Lady Cholmondeley, Houghton Hall; the New Art Centre, Roche Court; Lakeland Arts and Arts Council England. After Strawberry Hill, it will travel to Blackwell Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria from 19 March – 4 September 2016.

Admission to this exciting new exhibition is included with an entry ticket to visit the house.

Press Enquiries:

Erica Bolton, Bolton & Quinn Tel: 020 7221 5000; Email: erica@boltonquinn.com