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‘on form’ sculpture exhibition at Asthall Manor to return with splendour for 2022

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‘on form’ sculpture exhibition at Asthall Manor to return with splendour for 2022
on form’ sculpture exhibition at Asthall Manor to return with splendour for 2022. Image: Asthall Manor with Jason mulligan’s sculpture Tiger

on form, the much-loved sculpture exhibition at Asthall Manor, will be back in all its midsummer splendour for 2022.

A phenomenal line-up of 39 exceptional sculptors working in stone will show over 300 sculptures throughout the bold and luscious gardens and the Windrush Valley water meadows that lie beyond. Indoor works will be displayed in some of the Manor’s interiors and in St Nicholas Church next door.

The list of exhibitors includes 8 sculptors whose works have never been seen at Asthall before and some highly-acclaimed favourites. Nine sculptors will bring in work from mainland Europe, including a group from Pescarella studio in Pietrasanta, the traditional home of stone-carving in Tuscany.

This exhibition will pay homage to the intense and dusty life of the stone carvers and their dedication to their materials. The medium of stone lies at the heart of the exhibition and is supported by on form’s ‘please do touch’ policy.

Visitors will be urged to engage with the stone, feel the harmony between nature and stone and revel in the surprise and delight of the works and the playfulness of the curation.

on form was founded by Rosie Pearson and Anthony Turner in 2002. Since 2006, it has been curated by Anna Greenacre, and it has gained a reputation for thoughtful placement that is sensitive to the relationship between sculpture and the landscape.

“A whole other sensory world appears here for a month. Sculptures bring contours, texture, intrigue; provoking thought and conversation – and plants have a lovely way of softening them. Life hums around each piece”. —Anna Greenacre

This year, Anna will create the sense of a sculptor’s studio in the Ballroom to give visitors an immersive experience of the process and craft of sculpting with stone.

Zarafah by Guy Stevens and Senator by Paul Vanstone. Image credit Peter van den Berg for on form
Zarafah by Guy Stevens and Senator by Paul Vanstone. Image credit Peter van den Berg for on form

Four charities have been chosen to work with on form 22: Refugee Resource, The Wychwood Forest Trust, Wild Oxfordshire, and Bridewell Organic Gardens. All are local charities tackling the most urgent issues faced by the world today. Each week, one of these charities will have a presence at on form.

Rosie Pearson moved to Asthall Manor in 1998 after living in Jamaica for a decade. Asthall Manor, which dates from the 1600s, is a Jacobean house previously lived in by the infamous Mitford sisters and their family.

As soon as Rosie arrived at Asthall, she promptly commissioned the garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman to work with her to design what is now considered one of the most beautiful private gardens in the UK.

The magic is achieved with exuberant scented borders at the front of the house, formal wedges of yew ideal for hide-and-seek, wildflower meadows, a gypsy wagon, a natural swimming pool buzzing with insect life, and a hidden lake in the woods.

All this makes the perfect setting for an exhibition in which the sculpture sometimes seems as alive as the plants.

on form sculpture exhibition takes place at Asthall Manor in Burford from 11.00am to 6.00pm on Wednesdays to Sundays from 12 June to 10 July (closed Mondays and Tuesdays). Tickets cost £12.50 (£25.00 for season tickets and £6.00 for disabled and students tickets). It is free for under 12s, carers and the over 90s.

Booking is essential at onformsculpture.co.uk – except for season ticket holders. Choose to travel by bike, bus or canoe, and you’ll be in for a reduced entry price, a special drink at the Potting Shed and even a discount on sculptures.

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