Monday, 10 October 2016

Nature in Art - Gloucester

A few weeks ago I met up with an old friend in Gloucester and, rather than our usual lunch in town, we had an outing with a different kind of vibe planned.
We were off to visit the Nature in Art Museum & Gallery, just North of Gloucester, which is described in their brochure as being ...
"... unique and the World's only museum and art gallery dedicated exclusively to art inspired by nature in all its diversity."
Upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised by the setting. We were very lucky with the weather and arrived to bright sunshine and clear blue skies.

The first glimpses that we got of the museum, as we walked in from the car park, are really striking and really drew us in. We passed this wood carved owl on our way in and just couldn't wait to explore further.
The museum building is a beautiful old property based in a lovely setting in the Gloucestershire countryside, with plenty of exhibits both in and outside.  We were looking forward to having a good wander about, and I was hoping for plenty of photo opportunities.

We started inside.

Downstairs there was an interesting selection of art and sculpture, which forms the backbone of the permanent display. Sadly you can't take any photographs of the indoor exhibits but you can find a gallery of images of the full collection here.

Upstairs we were lucky enough to get to see a display of all of the winning images from the 2016 British Wildlife Photography Awards. There really were some incredible shots which were really inspiring.

Halfway between the two, on the landing, was what had to be my favourite exhibit of all. I've managed to find a good image of it here.
The Cycle of Flowers by Rosalind Wise is in acrylic on canvas and depicts every British garden flower that we could think off. We spent a good while stood on the stairs admiring it and, not being aware of the title of the painting, trying to decide if there was any method to the composition.

I'd just clicked on to the fact that it started with snowdrops in the middle and wondered how relevant that was, when a guide, overhearing our ponderings, chipped in to tell us that the plants were depicted in the order within which they flower in the gardening year, starting with the snowdrop in January.

Knowing this made it even more interesting and, being a keen gardener and lover of all things floral, we proceeded to 'test' the painting to see if anything was missing.

I am pleased to say that, having reeled through pretty much all of the flowering plants I could think of that are in my garden, with much scrutiny, we did manage to locate every last one.

I absolutely loved it. It was stunning and truly beautiful.

Before heading outside to explore the sculpture exhibition we had a wander round the small gift shop, where there are plenty of cards and bits and pieces that would make great gifts. I really wanted to buy a postcard of The Cycle of Flowers, but having seen the original, the colours on the postcards just didn't have the same vibrancy, so I decided against it.

We had a quick early lunch in the small cafe, which went down very nicely before heading outside into the sunshine to explore the outdoor sculptures.

I love outdoor sculpture and this garden was certainly no disappointment. We started on the lawned area at the back of the museum, which gave more great views of the museum building itself.
I was particularly taken by the first sculpture that we came across which depicted a pond with bullrushes, irises and even a frog on a lily pad. It was just lovely and wouldn't look the least bit out of place on my patio ...

I also absolutely loved the detailing on this wrought iron gate. It was stunning and the more you looked at it the more you saw ...
There was plenty more to look at on the lawned area ...

There is far more on display than originally meets the eye and, from the main lawned area, you are drawn off the main track and into the undergrowth for lots of surprising finds. Apologies now for the photo overload, but I just couldn't resist.

I just loved these giant poppy seedheads, which were just set amongst the undergrowth and just looked amazing from every angle ...
There were all manner of bird sculptures ...
...including this most graceful of herons, perched high amongst the foliage ...
Just when we thought we'd seen it all, this just seemed to appear from nowhere ...
We saw the biggest bug hotel we'd ever seen and some of the biggest bugs ...
And another piece, depicting fern fronds unfurling, that I would be happy to find a home for somewhere in my own garden ... 
The trail through the undergrowth winds its way back to the lawned area, where a further exhibition can be viewed in the education centre before wandering through greenhouses where you can watch real live artists at work!!

This little fella is definitely the real thing and just seemed to be taking it all in ...
Including our stop for lunch we spent a good couple of hours exploring the museum and were both impressed. We would definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area and you like that kind of thing. It was well worth the entrance fee of £5.25.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Elena. It was definitely worth the visit. Plenty of good photo opportunities!!

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  2. Great reflection of a spiritual environment - like love wandering round both house and garden. You have captured it well with superb photographs.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm glad you like the photos. It was a really inspiring environment. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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