Kieran Stiles Art Workshop

Dec 13, 2019

Ink Still Life

Friday 13th December 1-4 pm

The Ballroom


Learn about constructing a painting from the basis of random splashes of colour. In the same way we anthropomorphize cloud formations, explore how to let the colour ‘lead’ the image, adapting swathes of vivid ink and watercolour into plant like shapes while the medium is still wet.

Working from direct observation, the linear definition is created using a fine brush up on the point. In the example above we can see how some of the shapes are tonally modelled to appear three dimensional and other areas are left open to the imagination with ink flowing more irregularly through the form. This type of representation allows for great freedom of expression, depth and atmosphere.

All materials included, but please bring A3 heavy weight hot pressed (non textured) watercolour paper, and also flowers of your choice to contribute to or personalize your own still life.

Workshop cost £55. To book email kieran@artcoursesoxford.com

Dec 08, 2019

0n Saturday, 11 January, we welcome our friends from Cuddington Youth Drama (CYD) who will perform their sparkling 45-minute Twelfth Night, directed by Elaine English, in the Ballroom.

CYD is a touring repertory theatre group, which started as a Saturday morning theatre club in Cuddington, Buckinghamshire, 15 years ago.

Review of CYD’s Twelfth Night at Edinburgh Fringe, 2019:

“These are young actors who know how to work together to create a feeling of ease and joy….They were applauded at each scene break as much for the camaraderie and care they had for each other, as for their honest performances.”

Tickets: £14, or £22 to include a simple supper after the performance

Further donations to the work of CYD will be accepted

Asthall Manor, Ballroom and Gardens

Asthall Manor, overlooking the swans and stumpy willows of the Windrush Valley, dates from the early seventeenth century, but probably occupies a medieval site. Lady Joan Cornwall and her son Sir Edmund Cornwall are believed to have lived in it during the fourteenth century.

The present house – or an earlier version of it – was probably built for the Jones family, who occupied it until the 1670s or 1680s, followed by the Peacock family, and then, from then mid-eighteenth century and for much of the nineteenth, by the Bateman family.

The Manor was a convalescent home during the first world war, and in 1919 it was bought by Lord Redesdale, father of Nancy and the other Mitfords. It was on Asthall Manor, as well as the Redesdales’ other houses, that Nancy’s fictional Alconleigh is based. In 1926, the Manor was sold to the Hardcastle family, who retained it until 1997.

The present symmetrical appearance of the house has resulted from alterations made for the Batemans in the nineteenth century, and for Lord Redesdale in the 1920s. Lord Redesdale also converted the barn into a ballroom/library, with its huge bay window and Jacobean-style ceiling, and built the cloisters to connect this new ballroom and the rooms above it to the main house. The house was slightly reduced in size by the present owner in 1998-9.

A more extensive history of Asthall, written by R.B. Peberdy for the Victoria County History series, can be found here.

The Ballroom at Asthall Manor is available for hire for life-enhancing events. click here for details. Please note, we do not take bookings for weddings.

The gardens were designed by I & J Bannerman in 1998. Their aim was to allow the garden to flow into the Windrush Valley landscape beyond it. The gardens blend form and freedom, open views and secret spaces. Long tranquil walks bordered with sharp wedges of yew, vast beeches enclosing a hidden lake, orchards sloping down to the mill stream, stone tubs overgrown with roses and a formal box-bordered parterre provide a quintessentially English setting for fine art. Asthall Manor’s entrance is notable for the sculptures by Anthony Turner which adorn its gateposts.

The garden has recently featured in the following books: Landscape of Dreams, Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds and English Gardens, and has been the subject of many newspaper and magazine articles, most of which can be found here. Most recently, head gardener Mark Edwards was interviewed on his innovative techniques of rose pruning for the Telegraph's Saturday garden section.

Volunteer with us: From time to time we take volunteers in the garden through the organisation WWOOF (Worldwide opportunities on organic farms): https://www.wwoof.org.uk

Jamaica We have a small guest house in Jamaica click here for further details