One of Oxfordshire’s best kept secrets, on the last Saturday of the month from April to November, the Nemon Studio Museum and Archive on Boars Hill celebrate the life and work of émigré sculptor Oscar Nemon with free visits. He came to Oxford in 1941 and remained until his death in 1985.
In a beautiful, leafy setting on Boars Hill, between Oxford and Abingdon, visitors can see the originals of works that span his sixty-year career, bronze casts of which are in cities around the world, and also learn how they were made before enjoying tea in the garden, and using the parking as the base for a walk on Boars Hill.
Nemon travelled to the UK as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Europe during the 1930s, having sculpted Sigmund Freud from life in Vienna, and spent several years sculpting and exhibiting in Brussels.
In England after the second world war, Nemon went on to sculpt Winston Churchill, Eisenhower, Elizabeth II and Winnicott, amongst other distinguished sitters. Nemon’s Churchills are in the Members’ Lobby of the House of Commons, and many other locations, including the Rose Garden at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock.
For 2022, there are two special displays. “Dancing with Shadows” focuses on Nemon’s work during the 1940s, when almost all his family were killed in the Holocaust. Looking at his portraits of local sitters, the display explores how making art helped him find a path through those darkest of times.
There is also a Platinum Jubilee celebration of his portraits of Elizabeth II and a talk about how he made his sculptures, including tools, sketches, and maquettes. Visitors can then take tea and cake either in the wild garden or in the Archive.
There is parking on-site, and children are warmly welcomed, as are well-behaved dogs on leads. Visits are free, with an optional donation, but need to be prebooked to manage numbers. Please visit the museum website at oscarnemon.org.uk for more details and photos.
Visitors stay on average an hour and a half to two hours enjoying this unique experience.
Visits are free, but need to be prebooked