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Brief for a new commission at Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park

As part of our Landscape Restoration Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Compton
Verney Art Gallery and Park seeks to commission an eye-catching work in its landscape for
spring 2017.
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park is an award winning art gallery in Warwickshire,
based in a Grade I-listed Georgian mansion with a modern extension of 2004 and set in 120
acres of Grade II*-listed parkland designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. We house six
permanent collections, including one of Europe's most important collections of Chinese
bronzes and the UK's largest collection of British Folk Art. We are an accredited museum, a
registered charity, and the Chinese collection is nationally designated.
Our mission is to share our passion for art and heritage with as many people as possible. We
pride ourselves on our varied exhibition and learning programmes, which in 2014 attracted
over 60,000, plus 5,000 school children and their teachers. Our vision is, simply, to bring
art of the highest quality and of international standing to a regional audience in the
Midlands, for whom we are 'the national gallery on the doorstep', and to weave our art
exhibitions - together with our grounds displays, our associated learning and public
programmes, and our historic site - into a genuinely unique visitor experience that
entertains, informs, surprises and challenges.
Since opening in 2004, Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park has established a reputation
for regional and national excellence. As The Guardian observed in 2011: Compton Verney
continues to come up with exhibitions that are so inventively curated that they reveal fresh
angles on otherwise familiar subjects. In recent years, Compton Verney Art Gallery and
Park has also been a pioneer in creating collaborations with major museums and galleries
across the UK. We have not only forged a national network of regional museum exhibition
partners, but have also established new ways of working with government-funded
nationals such as Tate and the British Museum to ensure that both our rural and urban
regional audiences dont have to go to London to see great art.
Our exhibitions are nationally and internationally reputed and range from historic shows
such as Canaletto, Gainsborough or British Folk Art, to more contemporary shows on the
Arts and Crafts House or our current exhibition Periodic Tales, which features work by Tim
Etchells, Antony Gormley, Heatherwick Studio, David Nash, Cornelia Parker, Marc Quinn
and Lucy Skaer, amongst others.
We have previously programmed work in the landscape, including artwork by Anya
Gallaccio, Simon Patterson, Jem Finer, Marcia Farquhar, Laura Ellen Bacon and Hilary Jack. In
addition as part of our 2014 exhibition we sited nine Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin
works in the landscape, and in 2015 we worked with contemporary garden designer Dan
Pearson to create an arts and crafts inspired William Morris meadow on our West Lawn. In
2015 we have achieved a record year of over 70,000 visitors.
See: www.comptonverney.org.uk
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The Commission
We are seeking proposals from artists and/or designers to create a new work in the
landscape at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. This is an opportunity to develop a new
work, which is significant, high profile and impactful. We are interested in a piece that may
be an eye-catcher (a piece that will attract attention), which is participatory, surprising or
inventive and which responds to the history/heritage of the landscape or even using the
lake. We hope it to be imaginative, high-impact, and a must-see destination piece.
Through this commission we also hope to deepen historic understanding and enjoyment of
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park and to prompt enquiry and new ways of looking at
the site, via a 21st century response to its history, building upon its unique architectural, art
and design led identity.

The commission presents an opportunity to make new work to be presented in the


historic landscape at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.
The work will be semi-permanent, but to last no less than 3 years in the landscape.
The commission will be installed at Compton Verney.
The work can be an interventional, physical, sculptural, performative, sound piece
and/or light based.
Artists should assume that there are no storage facilities for the work at Compton
Verney Art Gallery and Park.
An exciting and aesthetic interest to the grounds.
In addition to the commission we are looking to run a high profile, popular,
engaging and experiential series of events/activities/workshops.
Where possible the work should be site-specific.

Aims:

To attract more people to site and help drive ambitious visitor targets.
o To engage our existing audiences (categorised as follows: Commuterland
Culturebuffs, Dormitory Dependables, Home and Heritage, Metroculturals
and Experience Seekers)
o Engage new audiences to visit Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park
(Trips and Treat category)
o For more information about these defined categories please visit:
https://www.theaudienceagency.org/audience-spectrum
To increase awareness of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.
To make a lasting impression on long after visitors have gone (art has the power
to make a lasting impact on the world and our society).
To increase the reach of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Parks distinctive/
innovative programme.
Stimulate debate about contemporary public art in a historic rural environment.
To respond sensitively and imaginatively to Compton Verney Art Gallery and
Parks site/historic setting.

Role of the maker/artists:

To create a work for the grounds, which could be anything including


interventional, physical, transportational, sculptural, performative, sound piece
and/or light based.
To install the commission (with the support of Compton Verney Art Gallery and
Parks team where required).
To work to the given specified budget provided by Compton Verney Art Gallery
and Park.
Liaise and work directly with the Curator and other Compton Verney staff (such
as the Learning Team and HLF project team) throughout the duration of the
project.
To work with Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park regarding seeking planning
permissions, should they be required.
To work with Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park on the events and
participatory side of the project.
To work with Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park on the marketing side of the
project.
To inform Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park should any issues arise
regarding the project.
To work with Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park to provide additional
interpretation.
To be responsible for maintenance of the work, should issues arise.
To speak at a staff briefing on the project, attend press day and associated events
if/when required.

Notes:

The work will be insured by Compton Verney House Trust during installation on
site and whilst on display, subject to an agreed maximum value.
The artist will need to have their own public liability insurance.

The Budget

Artists fee
Production and installation costs
Transport/delivery of work
Expenses

TOTAL BUDGET: 45,000


[Please note an additional budget held by Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park has been
allocated to cover the following: project consultation, marketing, engagement, interpretation,
insurance and planning permissions]

To apply
Please submit an Expression of Interest:

A very short proposal outlining your ideas for a new work/s, your interest in
Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, and how you meet the brief above.
A CV and artist statement
Up to 6 images/details of previous work

The deadline for submissions is 9am on Monday 15 February 2016.


Please submit your application via email or post to:
Email:
Post:

penelope.sexton@comptonverney.org.uk
Penelope Sexton, Curator, Compton Verney, Compton
Verney House Trust, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ

N.B. If you would like to discuss the project before submission or have any queries please do not
hesitate to contact Penelope Sexton on 01926 645540 or
penelope.sexton@comptonverney.org.uk

In addition to this brief, please find below:


i.
ii.
iii.
iv.

Draft schedule
Brief history of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park
Plan of Compton Verneys site
Images of site

i.

Draft timetable:

Expression of interest deadline:

9am on Monday 15 February 2016

Assessment and shortlisting:

From 16-19 February 2016

Announcement of shortlist:
Shortlist proposal submission deadline:

Monday 22 February 2016


Friday 4 March 2016

Shortlist interviews:
Commissioner selected:

From 14-18 March 2016


Thursday 24 March 2016

Research, development and production of


work:

From end March-November 2016

Planning permissions sought (if required):

From May 2016

Work finished by:

November/early December 2016

Work installed by:

February 2017

Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park


commission opens to the public:

18 March 2017

i.

Brief history of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park


Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park is an award winning art gallery in Warwickshire,
based in a Grade I-listed Georgian mansion with a modern extension of 2004 and set in 120
acres of Grade II*-listed parkland designed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. We house six
permanent collections, including one of Europe's most important collections of Chinese
bronzes and the UK's largest collection of British Folk Art. We are an accredited museum, a
registered charity, and the Chinese collection is nationally designated.
The mansion at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park was remodelled in the 1760s by
Robert Adam who in turn introduced Capability Brown to the site. From 1768 Brown
revisioned and transformed the landscape creating sharply defined lakes, bridges, tree belts,
carriage drives, paths, vistas and garden buildings. A key element of Browns new vision
was his Grade I listed Chapel (1776-9), one of the very few buildings known to have been
designed by Brown with practical purpose (i.e not as follies). Browns new park was
designed as an amenity to be used by residents and visitors alike and many of the features
of Browns scheme paths and routes through the landscape, exploration of art and nature
in landscape and the role of eyecatchers and vistas are central to our project now.
By the time that the mansion and part of its grounds were purchased by the Peter Moores
Foundation in 1993 there had been significant deterioration in the Capability Brown
landscape. The decline in the Verney familys fortunes in the late nineteenth century, the
subsequent sale of the estate in 1921, combined with damage and loss during the Second
World War and since had all taken its toll. During this time the estate was broken up into
multiple ownership; with subsequent neglect of some areas, the loss of others to intensive
agriculture, and denudation by Dutch elm disease.
However, research and exploration has made clear that much has survived from the
eighteenth century and much can be revived through sensitive restoration and creative
reinterpretation, thus bringing Capability Browns original vision back to life. Re-imagined
for the contemporary visitor, it will, once more, be possible to appreciate Brown and
Adams visionary blend of landscape, architecture and art.
Since 1993 the mansion has been spectacularly restored, renovated and renewed for the
21st century. It now houses significant collections, ranging from Chinese Bronzes (a
Designated Collection) to British Folk Art, and stages temporary fine art exhibitions and
commissions, in both the gallery and grounds, that consistently bring artists and artistic
themes to life for visitors.
This heritage of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park is important because Capability
Brown was the pre-eminent creator of eighteenth century landscapes; parklands that
continue to inspire delight in visitors three hundred years after his birth.
The Chapel, a building he designed for use rather than as a folly/eyecatcher, makes this
Brown landscape doubly rare and distinctive, and indeed of national importance.

ii.

Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park Site Plans

iii.

Images of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park