The Edge of Things at Blickling Estate

Artist covered in white paint with a black background on one side and a white background on the other

Following the success of The Word Defiant! last year, 2019 sees us embark on a new project, working with artists Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie, which launches in May.

The Edge of Things will once again draw inspiration from Blickling’s nationally important book collection.  Responding to language, natural history, astronomy and the work of the first scientist to use microscopes, the artists will install a series of installations and live projects in the house and Orangery in May. All of which will help raise awareness of the conservation work needed to protect the historic book collection from damp and death watch beetle.

Jo Bosch, Blickling’s Visitor Experience Manager explains; “Neville and Joan have chosen to work with four of the collection’s most intriguing titles from the late seventeenth century, looking at them through a contemporary eye. This will enable us to revisit a period in history where the thirst for understanding of the known world and for new attitudes to social and political structures was being rethought."

" Our visitors are fascinated to see what lies within the book presses in the Long Gallery and enjoy getting up close to the collection, this project will enable us to bring these books to life and give them a contemporary context."
- Jo Bosch, Visitor Experience Manager

“We’re thrilled to be embarking on our second Trust New Art project at Blickling, which is the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts, inspired by the places we look after. We can’t wait to see what Neville and Joan have in store for us.

Artists Neville and Joan have been regular visitors to Blickling Estate over the past few months. Standing in the Long Gallery Library, surrounded by over 12,500 books on almost every subject, there were plenty of books to draw inspiration from.

Neville Gabie, who was artist-in-residence at the 2012 Olympic Games, shared his excitement for the new Trust New Art project; “The range of books in Blickling Library, mostly published during the age of enlightenment, give a unique insight into a time when new discoveries about our world, its natural history, language, people, the heavens and oceans, political and religious ideas, were literally burgeoning.”

Artists Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie get inspiration from Blickling's book collection
Artists Neville and Joan Gabie leaning over a book in the Long Gallery
Artists Neville Gabie and Joan Gabie get inspiration from Blickling's book collection
" Being able to respond from a contemporary perspective is as broad and as great an opportunity we have had as artists."
- Neville Gabie, Artist

The installations will incorporate sound, storytelling and an intricate tapestry project. To help with their creation, Neville and Joan will be working with a spokesperson for the Wampanoag community in Massachusetts, a paleobiologist at Bristol University, astronomers from North Norfolk and volunteers at Blickling Estate to give these historical books a contemporary perspective. 

The Edge of Things opens on 17 May and will run daily until October. There will also be an exciting programme of events to support this project.

Artist covered in white paint with a black background on one side and a white background on the other

'The Edge of Things' preview | 16 May

As part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival this year, we're offering you an exclusive opportunity to join us for a private view of 'The Edge of Things' contemporary art project, before it opens to the public. Explore the installation after hours, meet the artists and find out more about the inspiration behind their work.