RURAL CULTURE AT ITS BEST!
ILFRACOMBE AND BROOMHILL.
The first time I saw her was through a forest of masts on a field full of yachts.
She was standing tall gleaming, holding the tallest mast of all her sword.
She sparkles and twinkles in the sunlight as her bronze contours bounce the reflection of the sunshine.
She, Verity, Truth and Justice, as the statue of Liberty, significant of America; she protects the coast of Ilfracombe. She stands, tall and brave and strong, holding the balance she weighs-up right from wrong!
Standing on her plinth of Law Books, Maritime Law?
To me, she is a women who is an echo of a ships helm, holding her head high!
Her stance is that of Degas’ Ballerina; Hirst, obviously referencing traditional sculpture.
Her skin peeled back over half of her body as stockings and sleeves, exposing her muscles and internal foetus, she glints magically the sunlight bounces around her creases and smooth contours.
Verity standing tall and proud, glistening and glinting in the sunlight,
Earth Mother, Sea Queen, A Pregnant Woman representing Life itself.
Damien Hirst’s Cafe/ Restaurant 11 The Quay is just along from Verity overlooking the bay. This is my third time I have visited Verity and the cafe, this time I took a friend, we were received by a very friendly front of house waiter who immediately gave us some place mats which have Hirst images, one side Fish the other Spots. He, the waiter also offered us the opportunity to look upstairs in the restaurant to peruse the art works.
Downstairs the walls are adorned with butterfly wall paper which at first glance has an almost old fashioned appearance, covered in butterfly print patterns, If one hadn’t seen Hirst’s work one might mistake the paper for a retro 1970s design.
On the one wall there are are a series of Hirst’s ‘Butterfly Colour Painting’ works, opposite is a cabinet with formaldehyde Fish,
‘Isolated Elements Swimming’ 1991.
In the hallway leading up the stairs there are some ‘Spin paintings’ and other butterfly pieces leading us to the restaurant; tables fill the room clothed and napkin covered, a row of french style doors lead out onto the verandah overlooking the bay.
The walls of the restaurant are decorated with very busy, shiny, wallpaper printed with pills and other medication, on which Hirst’s pharmaceutical ‘Pill Cabinets’ hang.
Hirst’s art is in abundance, everywhere you look, paintings, wallpaper, sculptures including machetes of Verity.
I can highly recommend the coffee and cake; its lovely to sit downstairs outside the cafe and ‘people watch’, …..believe me the times I have been there, there has been some interesting observations…
BROOMHILL ART HOTEL.
Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Park is a stone’s throw away from Ilfracombe… well its 9.5 miles to be precise but a must do if your in that part of the country and love Art.
Broomhill is lovely especially on a sunny day, it has a relaxed atmosphere, indoor gallery space, restaurant, B&B rooms and the sculpture gardens.
The sculptures seem to be bellowing out of the gardens. Broomhill is expanding dramatically!
Good Art abounds, even though not all the Art is what I would describe as high quality, yet it is very enjoyable to see all of these sculptures in a natural setting. It seems to me that sculpture is usually seen in more formal gardens; mowed lawns, here there is a very natural environment, an eclectic mix, contemporary minimalist metal spheres and other shiny shapes glint through the trees when hit by the sunshine.
Glass domes push up through the water. Stone carvings, wood carvings and Sandy Brown’s clay sculptures with beautiful bright glazes dripping down protrude from foliage and lawns. Animals and people representational and abstract every style shape and genre hidden and overt…..
Unlike so many Art establishments Broomhill seems so relaxed you can really immerse yourself among the works and nature at the same time; if you want to touch you can, sculpture is a tactile medium.
I first visited Broomhill years ago when my little girl was small and she thoroughly enjoyed, running in and out of the sculptures, throughout the woods, around the ponds, playing hide and seek.
I definitely recommend lunch, sitting out in the gardens, washed down with a glass of red wine, that’s Artists heaven!