Loading Events

« All Events

on form exhibition of sculpture at Asthall Manor

Sunday 02 May to Monday 31 May

on form exhibition of sculpture at Asthall Manor
on form exhibition of sculpture at Asthall Manor

About on form exhibition of sculpture at Asthall Manor

on form exhibition of sculpture in stone is a biennial event that normally takes places in the even years (2018, 2020…) using the grounds and a few of the interiors at Asthall Manor as a backdrop.

Due to the closure in 2020, they are planning to open the gardens for on form unlocked in May 2021 that will run from Sunday, 02 May to Monday, 31 May. This will be a different experience from the traditional midsummer show: gentler and less busy, as befits the times we are living in, but as welcoming, inspirational and beautiful as ever.

on form was born in 2000, when Rosie Pearson commissioned Anthony Turner to make two pumpkin-like finials for the Asthall Manor gateposts. She wanted something with character, something mysterious but welcoming, with a promise of the unexpected.

The stir that was created by the installation of these two curvaceous organic forms led Rosie and Anthony to wonder what would happen if the lovely garden at Asthall was filled with other surprising shapes in stone.

More than a decade on, on form has spiralled and grown and taken on a life of its own – rather like the original sculptures. More than a gallery, it is a place for art that speaks to us without words, connecting people to their surroundings and allowing them to feel.

Since 2006, on form has been curated by Anna Greenacre, although Rosie still plays an active part as creative director. The Potting Shed Cafe, in Asthall Manor’s walled garden, has been part of on form since 2012 and features food inspired by the vegetable garden and created by Fiona Cullinane.

Since 2014, they’ve hosted Madhatter Bookshop in the swimming pool pavilion, giving the organisers and the sculptors a chance to suggest books on art, ecology, philosophy and gardening that distil our thoughts and our ethos.

In 2016, they expanded the exhibition into the river meadow for the first time, cutting paths through sculpture and giving visitors surprising long-distance views. This was also the first year that they furnished the ballroom and indoor spaces, in collaboration with Lorford’s Antiques, in order to manifest the creative potential of living with sculpture.

The garden, designed and planted by Isabel and Julian Bannerman in 1998, forms an essential backdrop to on form. And it flows naturally into the Windrush valley landscape, with the languid meander of its river, its pollarded willows shooting up from their stumps like green fireworks, its soggy water meadows and its elegant swans.

The work on show is at ease with the landscape partly because, as Peter Randall-Page has said about the process of carving, “when you’re moving across the surface of a stone, it’s like a landscape; it’s like walking – your body is kept busy in quite a rhythmic way.”

Good to know

Visitors must book an entry time in advance; we will not admit drop-ins this year.

The Potting Shed café will be open on the same days as the exhibition, on a first-come-first-served basis.


Sunday 02 May
Monday 31 May
Event Category:


Asthall Manor, Burford
Asthall Manor
Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4HW
+ Google Map