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Bonnington House & Jupiter Artland

Posted on March 17th, 2010 by Charles Boot

Niall Manning writes:

Charles Jenk's 'Life Mounds" from the drive at Jupiter Artland, on the approach to Bonnington House (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

Charles Jenk's 'Life Mounds" from the drive at Jupiter Artland, on the approach to Bonnington House (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

The first encounter with Jupiter Artland is dramatic: soon after passing through the front gates, the driveway winds through the Charles Jencks landform ‘Life Mounds’. On arrival at the house we were welcomed by Robert Wilson, who with his wife, Nicky, have been responsible in recent years for the restoration of the house and garden, and the vision driving the Jupiter Artland project.

The view back through the 'Life Mounds' (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

The view back through the 'Life Mounds' (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

Christopher Dingwall’s research has yielded fascinating information on the designed landscape here and he provided a helpful summary and copies of relevant maps. The doocot and sundial are C17th and significant traces remain of the compact formal landscape from the early C18th. The owners have restored several elements of the landscape, including the ha-ha and the easterly axial vista. It is hoped that in future such information will be made available to all visitors.

We started in the partly walled east garden, which is not normally open to the public, and primed with this introduction, we had the afternoon to explore the landscape at leisure. The artworks by Ian Hamilton Finlay, Andy Goldworthy, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, and others are set in woodland.

Ian Hamilton Finlay's Temple of Apollo sits on Gala Hill near his Xth Muse (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

Ian Hamilton Finlay's Temple of Apollo sits on Gala Hill near his Xth Muse (photo by Christopher Dingwall)

My favourite was certainly the wonderful ‘Stone House’ by Andy Goldsworthy, set in a clearing of Gala Hill Wood, its floor the exposed underlying bedrock, all soil removed, lit (at a low level) by the small square openings in each gable.

The unassuming exterior of Andy Goldsworthy's 'Stone House' (photo by Christopher Dingwall).

The unassuming exterior of Andy Goldsworthy's 'Stone House' (photo by Christopher Dingwall).

Its interior, low lit by two square opeings in the gables, contains nothing but the exposed underlying bedrock  (photo bt Christopher Dingwall)

Its interior, low lit by two square opeings in the gables, contains nothing but the exposed underlying bedrock (photo bt Christopher Dingwall)

We took breaks for lunch at the café in the Steadings and also to visit the Gallery and excellent bookshop. Another aspect of this exciting project is that the Trust is committed to using the landscape and art as an educational resource for schoolchildren. Altogether a very successful visit and special thanks to Robert Wilson, Christopher Dingwall and Sue Hewer.

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