Lynn Chadwick at Cliveden
In 2018, The National Trust and Blain|Southern presented an outdoor exhibition of sculptures by the internationally renowned British artist, Lynn Chadwick (1914-2003). The artist’s large-scale bronze and steel sculptures were installed over twelve sites across Cliveden’s gardens, enhancing and inviting reconsideration of the landscape and vistas of the historic Grade I listed grounds in which they were situated.
This exhibition has now ended.
Discover the artist
Lynn Chadwick was one of the leading British sculptors who rose to international prominence after World War II. He is known primarily for metal works often inspired by the human form and the natural world, but which also at times seemed close to abstraction. He was born in Barnes, London in 1914 and died at his home in Gloucestershire, in 2003.
Chadwick was launched on the international stage as a key figure in a generation of sculptors who succeeded the likes of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and exhibited for the first time together at the Venice Biennale, 1952. The ground-breaking exhibition New Aspects of British Sculpture at the British Pavilion saw Chadwick exhibiting with Robert Adams, Geoffrey Clarke, Reg Butler, Eduardo Paolozzi, William Turnbull and Bernard Meadows. These young sculptors, born between 1913 and 1930, were moving away from Hepworth and Moore's carved sculptures introducing, new ways of working with welded metals.
Four years later, representing Great Britain at the 1956 Venice Biennale, Chadwick won the coveted International Prize for Sculpture ahead of established artists such as Alberto Giacometti.
Abandoning the stone and wood carving methods of pre-war sculpture, Chadwick’s approach to making sculpture was instinctual; engaging in the physical activity of making without preliminary drawings, where practical improvisation resulted in works imbued with a unique intensity and presence.
“It seems to me”, Chadwick said,” that art must be the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the imagination and translated by the artist’s ability and skill. Whatever the final shape, the force behind is... indivisible.” Listener, 1954
From this point, in a career that spanned over half a century, Chadwick had over a hundred solo exhibitions and his works can now be found in the collections of the world’s most renowned museums. He was awarded a CBE in 1964 and was elected a Royal Academician in 2001.
Art at Cliveden
Exhibiting sculpture outdoors has been a significant feature of the designed landscape at Cliveden since the 18th century. Large figurative works and architectural structures have defined spaces and delineated views in-and-around the gardens that visitors have enjoyed for three centuries. Exhibiting the work of Lynn Chadwick, The National Trust’s Cliveden invited visitors to view its world famous gardens in a new light, reframed by iconic figurative works by one of Britain’s most significant sculptors.
" “The exhibition focuses on some of his key figurative pieces. The human form was always a starting point for these works as he strove to capture the ‘attitude’ of a figure. Even at their most monumental he captures a humanity and sensitivity, which is emphasised when placed in nature, freeing the figure to interact with its surroundings.” "
Lynn Chadwick shared the view that the placement of monumental sculpture enhanced both the landscape and the work. It became a particular preoccupation for the artist in the latter part of his career when he created his own sculpture park at his home in Gloucestershire.
He left London after the Second World War to find peace and space to work. In 1958 he bought a neglected manor house, Lypiatt Park, where he lived for the rest of his life. Alongside his sculptural practise, his life’s project was to renovate and restore the house and surrounding gardens. In the 1980s Chadwick bought some of the original parkland below the house and set about restoring it to the original Victorian design. He then began placing his monumental works outdoors. This was done with dedication and precision, to ensure a harmonious balance between the land and sculpture.
It was at Lypiatt Park that Chadwick’s life and artistic practise became intertwined with the English landscape and the tradition of the country estate. The interplay between architecture, landscape and sculpture were all central to Chadwick’s daily life.
"Cliveden’s historic gardens, with their exceptional beauty and tradition of siting sculpture outdoors, are perfect for showing his works as he intended. Seeing them here would have given my father great pleasure".