Could you be Stourhead’s next artist in residence?

Bristol Cross, Turf Bridge and View of Pantheon, Stourhead, Wiltshire by John Piper

We are looking to commission a contemporary artist, or art collective, to develop a project in response to the theme ‘Model Landscape’. The finished artwork will be the centrepiece of an art-focused events programme that will allow our visitors to view Stourhead from a new perspective.

Calling all artists

Part of Trust New Art, the National Trust’s programme of contemporary arts inspired by the places we look after and their 'spirit of place' we are looking to commission a piece of contemporary art to be experienced someone within the house or grounds at Stourhead.

Model landscape

Stourhead is one of the most influential English landscape gardens of the eighteenth century landscape movement. The garden vision was inspired by European works of art collected abroad on the grand tour and it continues to inspire new works of art over 300 years later.

The landscape design is rooted in the idea of ‘genius loci’, a Roman term that refers to the protective spirit of a place. Landscape designers had to fully understand the spirit of Stourhead’s natural setting, before seeking to reshape and enhance it.

We are therefore looking for a thought provoking commission that considers the legacy and contemporary relevance of Stourhead, offering visitors, local communities, and our volunteers new ways of engaging with and understanding its spirit of place.

A Classical Landscape with Sportsmen by Gaspard Dughet (Rome 1615 - Rome 1675)

Our 2019 visitor experience programme: makers’ stories

In 2019, the property programme will all be about how Stourhead was made. We’ll explore the lives of those who built or planted each piece with their own two hands – the architects, stonemasons and gardeners who made the vision a reality. The final artwork will become part of this programme and sit alongside the stories of these ‘makers’.

The aim of this programme which we hope the art commission will compliment is to answer the kind of practical questions that many visitors currently leave with. For example: where did the stone come from? Is the lake manmade? How old are the giant redwoods? We want to examine the mechanics behind the aesthetic of the house and garden, revealing the extent to which Stourhead is a ground-breaking feet of engineering and design.

What are we looking for?

Stourhead itself was commissioned involving the work of the very best artists and designers of its time and we are looking for a project which reflects this level of quality, in a contemporary context.

We are inviting proposals from contemporary artists or art collectives whose work involves contemporary art practices such as architecture, work for digital platforms, drawing, craft, installation, moving image, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, sound, and writing. We welcome collaborations between artists.

Temple of Apollo, Stourhead, Wiltshire by Martin Oxley

Open day and expressions of interest

If you are interested in developing a proposal, you’re welcome to come to our artist open day, which will take place on Monday 16 July from 1pm. The open day is a chance for artists to meet the Stourhead team and explore the property for inspiration. Download the Trust New Art commissioning brief (PDF) for details of how to RSVP.

This document also offers a full description of the commissioning process, along with a complete deadline schedule, and details of how to submit your proposal.

Trust New Arts - Artist's Brief - Stourhead 'the Genius of the Place' (PDF / 0.3MB) download