Saturday, December 9, 2023

2016 Exhibition Programme for The Harley Galley

Amongst the contemporary artists showing at The Harley Gallery this year are Sir Peter Blake, sometimes considered to be a godfather of pop art and Rose English, a highly original performance artist.

March 2016 also sees the opening of a new gallery space designed by award-winning architect Hugh Broughton to house The Portland Collection, Welbeck’s internationally significant aristocratic collection of fine and decorative art dating back to 1500.

Visitors will be able to ‘pick and mix’ from contemporary exhibitions in The Harley Gallery – which often take inspiration from an historic object or traditional skills – and contrast them with works from the historic collection in the new gallery.

Pop art pioneer Sir Peter Blake, best known for The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, will be showing his World Tour series of cities around the world, which reveals his fascination with the surreal and comedic opportunities presented by the use of collage.

The horse-related work of internationally renowned artist Rose English, a performance artist of “matchless originality and wit'” (Daily Telegraph), will be juxtaposed with material from Welbeck’s rich equestrian history such as the celebrated 17th Century treatise Le Méthode et Invention Nouvelle de Dresser les Chevaux by William Cavendish.

Other exhibitions include Claire Twomey’s installation of 80 1.5m high ceramic vases, rare stereoscopic colour ‘Autochromes’ of the Edwardian gardens at Welbeck and the year closes with portraits from critically acclaimed painter Sophie Ploeg.

Gallery director Lisa Gee said, “2016 is a great year to visit The Harley Gallery. Our new gallery for The Portland Collection opens in March and of course our changing programme of contemporary exhibitions continues.  We start the year with the original collages from Sir Peter Blake’s print series and move through ceramic installations to figurative paintings celebrating 2016 as the Year of the Garden”.

“Our exhibition programme is designed to show first rate visual arts in our tranquil rural setting, spanning fine art, contemporary craft, and historical treasures. Exhibitions might focus on family friendly themes, or explore a topic in-depth for a more seasoned gallery goer.  We aim to curate a yearly programme that will inspire and delight all our visitors”.

“This year, we’ve carefully crafted the programme to help illuminate the historic works shown in the new gallery for The Portland Collection. Our contemporary exhibitions might take inspiration from an historic object, they might use the same skills that have been handed down over the centuries from craftsperson to craftsperson, or explore similar themes – whether natural forms, costume or sculpture.”

Exciting new contemporary art being made in the region is the subject of the first new show at The Harley Gallery in 2016. If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? is a series of short displays featuring collaborations initiated by artists based at Primary in Nottingham, a collective of artists working to develop new ways of engaging audiences with contemporary visual art.

If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? Part 1

18 Jan – 7 Feb 2016

Untitled: Michael Forbes, Jacob Kelly and Saraa Rain

This exhibition sees the artists responding to the Welbeck Estate and the sculptural work of resident Primary artist Michael Forbes, through the medium of architecture and spoken word to re-establish connections between ancestral stories and contemporary life. Performance artist Saraa Rain will hold spoken word events on Saturday 23 January at 2pm and Sunday 7 February at 2pm.

In the Paravent

Small-scale drawings, paintings and objects connected to Nottingham will be housed within a purpose built display structure to offer an insight into the diverse breadth of contemporary art being produced within the studios, galleries and project spaces of Nottingham today.

Frank Abbott, Bruce Asbestos, Rob Van Beek, Rebecca Beinart, Jackie Berridge, Aimee Bollu, Wayne Burrows, Louisa Chambers, Lotti V Closs, Sean Cummins, Neil Dixon, Blue Firth, Craig Fisher, Rob Flint, Lynn Fulton, Sam Hewland, Candice Jacobs, Jake Kent, Beth Kettel, Nick Mobbs, Rebecca Ounstead, Alex Pain, Yelena Popova, Martin Rayment, Derek Sprawson, Debra Swann, Oliver Tirré.

If A Pair Is Two, What Is Three? Part 2

8 Feb – 28 Feb 2016

Razzle: All that Jazz
Craig Fisher, Louisa Chambers & Rob Flint

Three artists will be working directly onto the gallery walls taking the idea of ‘dazzle camouflage’ as the starting point with the works gradually overlapping to create an overall dazzle effect with interesting juxtapositions that could also be jarring and disrupting of the individual artist’s work.

One in the Middle

Frank Abbott, Rob Smith & SmithAbbott

Video, photography and installation will be used to explore the idea of being somewhere. Find out how the three artists conjure up a chance encounter with someone who becomes an artist in their own right for the duration of the exhibition.

There will be a closing event with discussion and performance at 2pm on Sunday 28 February.

Sir Peter Blake and Rose English: The Grand Tour: Season 2

20 March – 5 June

The Grand Tour, the ultimate exhibition programme for today’s cultural tourist at four of the region’s leading venues, will see The Harley Gallery showing original collages from Sir Peter Blake’s celebrated ‘World Tour’ series’ along with influential performance artist Rose English’s collection of her horse-related works, juxtaposed with objects and manuscripts from Welbeck’s rich equestrian history.

Pegasus by Rose English (photo by Michael Bennett)
Pegasus by Rose English (photo by Michael Bennett)
World Tour Paris, Dancing by Peter Blake (courtesy of CCA Galleries Ltd. Copyright restricted)
World Tour Paris, Dancing by Peter Blake (courtesy of CCA Galleries Ltd. Copyright restricted)

The Grand Tour reinterprets world class collections through contemporary art across four venues in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. It is a partnership between Chatsworth, Derby Museums, The Harley Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary together with Experience Nottinghamshire and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire. Funding for The Grand Tour was awarded as part of the joint Arts Council England and VisitEngland Cultural Destinations programme.

The Portland Collection: The New Gallery Opens to the Public

20 March 2016

Award-winning architect Hugh Broughton has designed a new gallery space to showcase The Portland Collection, which opens to the public on 20 March.

The inaugural displays will include miniature portraits selected by Sir Peter Blake showing 20 March to 31 August 2016. The Portland Collection has one of the largest and most significant privately owned collections of miniatures in the country. Masterpieces from The Portland Collection including Madonna del Silenzio (c.1538), a rarely seen drawing by Michelangelo, will also be on display from opening.

Photograph: Mark Asher

Madonna del Silenzio, c. 1538 Michelangelo Buonarroti© The Portland Collection

Sarah Danays’ Arms of The Portland Vase

18 June – 14 August

Sarah Danays is a Los Angeles based sculptor and photographer whose work is inspired by gesture and antiquities – notably broken ones. Her exhibition explores the gestural dialogue between the characters depicted on The Portland Vase, the world’s finest example of Roman cameo glass, and the genius of its anonymous makers.

Sarah Danays’ Arms of the Portland Vase, Octavia


Made in China

18 June – 14 August

A ceramics installation by artist Clare Twomey

An imposing sculpture installation of 80 vases, each 1.5m high, which will be displayed throughout the galleries. They were all made in China, but while 79 of them were decorated at the factory using transfers, one was hand decorated by an artist at the Royal Crown Derby factory.

Clare Twomey, Made in China

Nora Fok

27 August – 23 October

Key examples of Nora’s work from the past five years, exploring material and ideas, 3D printing and work influenced by inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, focusing on his mathematical approach to structures.

Nora Fok, Spiral Curve 3D printed neckpiece white 2015
Nora Fok, Spiral Curve 3D printed neckpiece white 2015

Julian Bray
27 August – 23 October

Works from the popular local painter.

Autochromes of the Gardens at Welbeck

27 August – 23 October

In celebration of the ‘Year of the Garden’ we are delighted to share rare stereoscopeic autochromes (early colour images) of the Edwardian gardens at Welbeck, dating from 1911-1914.

Away Away

5 Nov – 8 January 2017

Julie Arkell returns to The Harley Gallery, bringing her eccentric papier mache figures and unique sculptural storytelling style.

Sophie Ploeg

5 Nov – 8 January 2017

The 2013 BP Portrait Award: Travel Award winner turns her eye to portraiture and miniatures from The Portland Collection to present a series of new works inspired by the role of fashion and dress in the 17th century.

For more information, visit

The Harley Gallery is Situated on the ducal estate of Welbeck in North Nottinghamshire, the gallery is easily accessible from both the A1 and M1.

Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

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