The Antony Bridge portrait exhibition at Croome
The new exhibition coincides with the National Trust’s year of ‘Women and Power’ programme, celebrating 100 years since some women were given the vote. All around the country the National Trust are telling the stories of women who played a part in history and are often forgotten … until now. Croome has chosen to look at the past, as well as the present and this exhibition is a nod to the important work that all the women at Croome do.
Antony is Croome’s official artist-in-residence and this, his second exhibition at Croome, is of nine female staff and volunteers with visitors having the chance to be the final tenth portrait.
The portraits are displayed in the niches of the Long Gallery in the house where statues of deities of ancient Greek and Roman worlds once stood. Life-size artist mannequins will emulate the poses of these deities each accompanied by a portrait and an object of significance of each person.
“Antony is an exceptional portrait artist and we really wanted to explore this side of his work at Croome. As we are exploring more women’s stories this year, we thought it was apt that Antony painted women currently working and volunteering at this special place. The women featured in the exhibition were both selected and drawn from a ballot so they represent a broad cross-section of roles that women have on site. We’re very excited for the launch as it means so much to many people who love Croome.” Amy Forster-Smith, Croome’s Visitor Experience Manager.
Visitors are also being encouraged to enter a competition giving them the chance to have their own portrait painted and displayed in the tenth niche alongside the other portraits for the duration of the exhibition.
"Our mannequins are holding objects that we feel symbolise who we are - it might not come as a surprise to those I’ve worked with that my object is a book - ‘The Art of Relevance’, still the best book ever! It’s a blueprint on how to make places of culture a place for all.
It was a real experience to be painted by Antony Bridge, interesting to understand how he ticks, he asked some insightful questions to get to know me, and although I’d have liked less grey.... I think he ‘got’ what makes me tick." - Rachel Sharpe, FRSA - Croome Creative Partnerships Manager.