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Sunday, July 14, 2024
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New gallery in Shropshire celebrates nature’s power, beauty and influence

A new art gallery which celebrates the power, beauty and influence of nature has opened at a National Trust property near Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

Inspired by Nature gallery Dudmaston Hall Harry Wainwright
Inspired by Nature gallery Dudmaston Hall Harry Wainwright

Featuring work by esteemed botanical artists, such as John Nash and Mary Grierson, ‘Inspired by Nature’ is on display until the end of October at Dudmaston Hall.   

Originally curated by Lady Rachel Labouchere, Dudmaston’s last owner, in the late 1970s, the gallery space has undergone a transformation. As part of a complete rehang, the gallery now boasts a new colour scheme and lighting system which highlights the new positions of the artwork on display.  

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Examples of Lady Labouchere’s own artwork, including her watercolours which depict some familiar scenes at Dudmaston, are on display as part of the exhibition. She was trained, as an amateur artist, by John Nash at Flatford Mill in Suffolk. Chairs and handbags which she embroidered with botanical designs, are on display in the gallery, alongside photographs of her at work.  

Laura Bishop, Senior House and Collections Officer said: “We came across a box of Lady Labouchere’s watercolour paintings in the archive room, which had never been displayed before. As well as showing what a talented artist she was, the watercolours illustrate her passion for nature and the outdoors at Dudmaston.” 

“After inheriting the estate from her uncle Geoffrey Wolryche Whitmore, Lady Labouchere spent lots of her time planting, watering and weeding the garden and grounds to reinvigorate the soil. Her efforts ultimately saved Dudmaston from rack and ruin. It’s been a pleasure to draw connections between her artistic endeavours indoors and the work she did outdoors to save the estate, which bears such relevance to the conservation projects happening today.” 

To highlight work the National Trust is doing across the estate today, after exploring the gallery, visitors are encouraged to go outdoors and look through picture frames, to discover key views and vistas at Dudmaston. Some frames are paired with mid 19th century sketches to give visitors an idea of how the view has changed and developed over time.   The hall, galleries, garden, parkland walks, bookshops and tea-room are open Sunday – Thursday until the end of October.

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