folly! 2016

Family looking at Folly! artwork in the Banqueting House

The original designers of Studley Royal Water Garden, the Aislabie family, created many follies on this vast and beautiful estate to surprise and delight their eighteenth-century guests.

What is a folly?

These fashionable, whimsical buildings or structures were often used by garden designers to catch the eye or draw attention to a carefully created vista.

Discover folly! 2016

Visitors to folly! 2016 saw the temples and follies of this World Heritage Site garden dramatically re-imagined as places of visual trickery and untold histories, with two striking new works in the hidden follies of the water garden…

Featuring work by artist Mat Collishaw, one of the UK’s most thought provoking contemporary artists, two new installations were co-commissioned with London Gallery Blain|Southern to play with your senses and trick your eyes!

'folly!' work in progress
'folly!' work in progress in the workshop

Seria Ludo in the Banqueting House


Visitors stepping inside the darkened interior of the Banqueting House for folly! 2016 were met with visual magic of the most extraordinary kind… Imagine an opulent chandelier playing host to a frenzied array of carousing figures, the work swept the viewer up in a flight of fancy, a hypnotic dream to colour the imagination with scenes evocative of the garden’s past.
A trick of the eye in the Temple of Piety

The Pineal Eye in the Temple of Piety


Within the cool stone walls of the Temple of Piety visitors found something completely different. Still, serene and shimmering like the moon pond outside, this work appeared and disappeared before the eyes like a mirage. Reflective and tranquil, with the soothing sounds of the water garden outside, it was a spell-binding installation. 


See Mat's work in the the Banqueting House in the video below.