Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Part One

On a recent visit to South Yorkshire for family reasons I took time out to visit the YSP near Wakefield. I vaguely remember Bretton Hall from my teenage years living in Wakefield, but haven’t been there in donkeys years. Today the park hosts exhibitions both indoors and outdoors as well as permanent sculptures in the grounds.

Anthony Caro “Promenade”

The way one views sculptures, as with many forms of art, is highly subjective. Some I loved, others puzzled me, but the setting is great and if nothing else you get a good workout walking around the different parts of the park.

Outspan by Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg an artist who is now based in Germany has produced many bodies of work and examples here are from Early Forms (based on different vessels such as test tubes, jars, conical flasks) and Rational Beings (based on drawings of people). The sculptures are designed to be viewed differently from various angles and change depending on the perspective of the viewer.

Fruit trees and benches in the Bothy Gardens

Tread Softly is an Arts Council Collection National Partner exhibition exploring the realities of childhood, developing identity and family relationships.  I was particularly taken by an old gymnastic vault, which took me back to my grammar school days and a particularly strict P.E. teacher.

I also liked Barbara Hepworth’s Family of Man placed on a hillside, though being roped off rather spoiled the effect.

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of a real family enjoying a picnic lunch nearby.

Michael Lyons “Heights of David”

Another of my personal favourites is Buddha  by Niki de Sant Phalle, made all the more interesting by the addition of a chap on a ladder taking photographs of the giant sculpture (header)

Decorating a hillside in the Country Park section are several bronzes of Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure series that he began in the 1950s, and returned back to again and again throughout his life.

Henry Moore: Three Piece Reclining Figure No. 1

I enjoyed the patina of the bronzes; the sheep enjoyed the shade.

Draped Seated Lady

Moore’s preference of the reclining figure over a standing or sitting figure that is usually the subject of artists is down to its strong, yet relaxed posture. He explains that “it is free and stable at the same time. It fits in with my belief that sculpture should be permanent, should last for eternity.”

Henry Moore: Large Two Forms

Al Weiwei’s Iron Tree is a delightful replica of the ancient yew trees found in the Chapel grounds.

and his Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads is very interesting and has been on a world-wide tour since 2011. For the duration of their exhibition in Chicago all the heads were hooded, to remind people that the artist himself was still confined to China after being arrested for ‘economic crimes’. In 2016 he was granted permission to travel to Prague and see the sculptures for the first time.

Circle of Animals

Apart from the sculptures, the park is a very pleasant place to stroll around with walks around the lake, split into two by the Cascade Bridge which is where we will begin part two.



Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past

The only remains of St Andrew’s Old Kirk in North Berwick is a small white-harled stone building which stands just inland from the path to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The first church was probably made of wood and was probably constructed by monks from the Abbey at Lindisfarne some time in the 600s. A later building was erected some time in the 1100s, but little of this is left other than low stone walls on the grass to the north of the only part remaining.

The small porch was built after the Reformation and projected south from the end of the south aisle. The entire east end of the church was swept into the sea in a storm in 1656.

The church would have served the local community, and the steady stream of pilgrims passing through North Berwick to catch a ferry to Earlsferry in Fife en route to St Andrews. The town and kirk grew to serve the needs of the pilgrims with a hospice serving as a guesthouse to look after the sick.

In 1590 it was rumoured that 200 witches had danced around Anchor Green whilst listening to a sermon by the devil. The witches were supposedly trying to summon a storm to drown King James VI, but it was only under severe torture that a 16 year old girl confessed. As a result many innocent women were arrested and tortured and some died a witch’s death in front of Edinburgh castle.

The green (which was the old kirkyard) is now empty other than a Celtic cross erected in memory of Catherine Watson who, on 27 July 1889 at the age of 19, saved a drowning boy in North Berwick’s East Bay, but was herself drowned while doing so.

Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past 

WPC: Unusual

I am in Doncaster, South Yorkshire at the moment as my son is in hospital there. The daily route to the hospital goes along Town Moor Avenue which is opposite the racecourse. The field itself I remember as where my children played school sports. The houses along this road are quite spectacular (and very large) and today I managed to snap one of the more unusual ones through the bus window.

This conservation area contains Town Field itself and the planned suburban expansion of Doncaster’s residential area carried out in the early twentieth century along its northern side. The architecture of most of the buildings date from this period. The land was developed by Harold Arnold and Son from 1901 and it can be seen that the architects were influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. This was based on a dislike of mechanical ornamentation and a belief in the return to hand craftsmanship and simpler forms.

Buildings are mainly two-storied, although along and towards Thorne Road there are three-storied development. They are predominantly in red brick with slate or small red clay plain tiles. There are often elaborate forms of buildings with decorative architectural features, such as windows, doors, chimneys, bays, turrets, gables and porches. There are also areas of half timbering, stucco and decorative brickwork. Front boundary walls are generally low brick walls with castellated terracotta decorative copings often backed with hedges or shrubs.

Doncaster – Town Field was designated a conservation area on 8 April 1991.

Source: DMBC