Two go wild (at Compton Verney)

13 December 2013

I must tell you a little bit about my recent trip to Compton Verney (well, recentish) again with my friend Jane ( who seems to be featuring quite a lot in my blogs at the moment! ) 

Other bloggers have reported on Compton Verney before - notably the wonderful Stephanie Redfern who I think might live fairly close by.  But it is such a fabulous place it is worth mentioning again. 

It's a house of the stately pile variety, but unlike other such piles there wasn't an antique in sight. (actually, I lie.  There was, but since they were in the British Folk Art gallery I don't think they quite count.) Instead the house was an empty canvas, having been somewhat abandoned after the Second World War and allowed to gently decline, in which to place a pretty eclectic variety of stunning art works. 

There are several galleries housing permanent collections - Neopolitan paintings from the late 1700s, ancient Chinese bronzes, Northern European medieval religious art etc. None of these galleries are so overwhelming that they leave you exhausted.  But there are also temporary galleries and a collection of Folk Art collected by Enid Marx over her lifetime and now permanently housed there. 

On the day of our visit the temporary galleries housed a collection of animal prints from the British Museum, curated by the Leicester Print Works, and prints from an animal alphabet made by Enid Marx herself.

Enid Marx was a print maker and textile designer from the mid 20th century.  She was a contemporary of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious.  If you pop by my blog from time to time you might know that I am an enormous fan of this mid century British art. I would love to own a Ravilious!  Marx herself created wallpapers and furnishing fabrics, very much of their time but somehow still fresh and inspirational.  You can order both through the shop at Compton Verney.  I am tempted, though I must say that lovely as her stuff is, we should work hard to support the living artists of today who follow in her footsteps. 

Photography was both limited and actually impractical on the day, but Jane and I were rather struck by this incredible chest in the Italian gallery.  Both could see the potential from some of the motifs intricately worked on the surfaces. 

So, if you should ever find yourself on the M40 in Warwickshire ( junction 12 to be precise) then I fully recommend a detour to Compton Verney.  The house sits in stunning grounds (Capability Brown) and there is a fabulous restaurant!  What more could a girl want! 


  1. Thanks for the inspiration! I am doing an illuminated letter very shortly and want to make a start on it soon, the alphabet letter and italian decoration are giving me ideas!

  2. Oh it was a delightful day….thanks friend of the moment Hilary! See you soon, perhaps mingling on thursday? xx

    1. I certainly hope to be mingling! And we will have to plan our next jolly japes.


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