The Observatory at Mottisfont

The interior of The Observatory, taken at Mottisfont, Hampshire

This installation was on display in 2016 and has now moved.

Visit to find the Observatory's current location.

The Observatory consists of two structures, an artist’s studio (The Study) and a public shelter (The Workshop). It’s been brought to us by SPUD, a charity that specialises in arts, architecture and education projects.

Three artists took up residencies of several months here. Now, in its final weeks, we're hosting a series of shorter residencies.

The Study provides a private and reflective space for these artists to work, while The Workshop is open to visitors. You're welcome to explore the Workshop space even when the artist is away.

The Observatory in the beech circle at Mottisfont
A view of The Observatory through a circle of beech trees at Mottisfont, Hampshire
The Observatory in the beech circle at Mottisfont

Using a unique rotating system, the resident artists are able to orientate The Observatory to take maximum advantage of daylight and vistas, or to create shelter from the prevailing weather.

You'll be able to see how each of the artists use this unique space to observe, investigate and respond to Mottisfont’s special landscape, nature and architecture through variety of media including film, poetry and sculpture.

A learning and engagement programme will run alongside The Observatory residencies. This will include school and community workshops, talks and outreach work with universities, communities and special interest groups.

Meet our artists

SPUD is working in partnership with Chapel Arts in Andover to offer these short residency opportunities, after receiving funding from Test Valley Arts Foundation.

18 - 19 October: Beryl Pratley (Frances Fox) & Yonat Nitzan-Green
20 - 21 October: Teresa Munn
25 - 26 October: Laurence Rushby
27 - 28 October: Kimvi Nguyen

Previous artists

Over the last few months we’ve seen two other resident artists in the Observatory.

Savinder Bual makes sculpture and animation and is fascinated by the illusory qualities inherent in cinema. She explores the interplay between the moving and the still image, creating works that sit between the pre-cinematic and the digital.

Poet Aly Stoneman was inspired the flow of water through and around the estate, including the Font, the Abbey Stream and the River Test to create new writing, including a collaborative poem. 

Our first artist, filmmaker Florence Kennard, is currently working on a film from her time here, inspired by the rose season. We hope to show it at Mottisfont in future.

An award-winning design

The Observatory was designed as a result of an international competition by a young team of architectural graduates based at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios in London, and has previously enabled artists to work in the South Downs National Park at the Winchester Science Centre and in the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve.

It’s designed to sit lightly on the landscape, built with a unique rotating system that both creates the illusion that it is floating above the ground and provides 360 degree views of the landscape.

The ingenuity of the design has been recognised with a number of awards, including a RIBA South 2016 Award alongside our own Welcome Centre. Most recently it has been shortlisted for the RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize 2016.

After October, it is planned to move it to Buckler’s Hard in the New Forest National Park.