We heard about this event on BBC Spotlight and decided to go, and it was a wonderful experience, one I will be looking to repeat next year.
This art exhibition was a beautiful marriage between an English summer garden and strategically located sculptures, both enhancing each other. Placing sculptures outside is an art in itself, and this exhibition had been arranged perfectly, with a white wavy alabaster doughnut ring framed against flame red camellia, and a large pregnant black pot contrasting pleasingly against tall summer green shrubbery.
Delamore house, a grey stone 1850’s country manor, every year hosts this art exhibition. Hunting sculptures around the immaculate gardens is like being on a treasure hunt, and inside one of the large lounges paintings and smaller sculptures by a wide range of local artists are arranged. Over 400 artworks are on display in the garden and the house. There is also another array of local paintings in the stable buildings, these being a display of the Southwest Academy. And if you want a break from revelling in the skill of artists painting the local landscape, you can saunter in the real thing as you walk along the ‘Millennium Avenue’ of fifty-two lime trees rustling their leaves above meadow tall daisies, grasses, and rich purple orchids.
The exhibition runs until the 20th of June and is definitely worth a visit if you have time to saunter around slowly to savour the combination of human art and natural art on view; there is something for all tastes. On a sunny afternoon, the slow twirling of the forged steel curves of a wind sculpture on the manicured lawn flashed against the blue sky. Many of the paintings reflect the rural and seascapes of Devon and vary from the dramatic yellow fields of harvest by Lynda Kettle in her painting ‘Summer’, to the hazier blues and greys of a post stormy Sidmouth by Phil Creek. There is humour too in the form of the cheeky chickens on Josie Walter’s earthenware pots, and the expressive funny faces of Barbara Ellis’ acrylic on canvas dogs: And watch out for silver spoons and knives being recycled into small birds. The joy of the whole exhibition is one of variety.
Delamore Arts is located just outside Ivybridge. Following the satnav through a housing estate, along narrow stone lined walls, you arrive just as you think you have made a wrong turn, in at the lodge gates and to park in a large open field. Tickets are only £8 (you need to have booked online prior to your visit), and at the entrance hut you are given a complimentary brochure of glossy colour photos and details of all the exhibitors. I think people would have paid twice as much and felt as if they had received value for money. Having explored the garden with its sculptures strategically arranged against the vibrant flowers of early summer and the exhibition in the house, the Old Kitchen offers a choice of drinks and slices of cake, with large tents to rest and revive.
At the end of our visit, we walked around the lake and found, like a final hidden gem, a waterfall you could walk underneath and look back up at, so the sky could be seen twisted and refracted through the ribbons of flowing sparkling water. On a very hot afternoon the chance to dip toes in the falling curtain of water was delicious. All the money raised was to go to support the charity Star Light for brightening the lives of seriously sick children, and this was a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon as well as contribute to such a good cause.