Latest News

Poetry at on form

Jul 17, 2018

On Saturday, 30 June, poet Tamar Yoseloff led a workshop called The Shape of a Poem, seeking inspiration for new poetry in the sculptures at on form. Participants focused in particular on the shape of the poem, and the way it reflected the shape of the sculpture. We have not in all cases managed to reproduce the shape of the poem quite as well as it was presented to us, because of the limitations of a web page. 

We hope that the adventurous narrative spirit of on form will inspire writing of all kinds, and we are planning a short story competition for 2020. 

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on form supported charity: Kestrel Theatre Company

Jun 28, 2018

This year we are thrilled to welcome Kestrel Theatre Company as our supported charity. Kestrel works on creative projects within prisons. By empowering people to express themselves in a non judgemental, collaborative and enabling environment, Kestrel helps them develop greater self confidence, mutual respect, and resilience.

Throughout the week people from Kestrel will be here talking about their work. Drop in to find out more about what they do.

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Touch stone: on form 2018

Jun 26, 2018

Consider an exhibition in a garden and meadow, where the centrality of stone is in no doubt, with 40 artists exhibiting an impressive 384 sculptures. That’s not just any exhibition, that’s on form 2018….

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The Sunday Times magazine

Jun 24, 2018

Garden of unearthly delights 

Alien visitors have landed in the grounds of the Cotswold manor where the Mitford sisters grew up — in the form of a magical sculpture exhibition. Photographs by Andrew Montgomery.

see the full article here

Timeless Travels Magazine

Jun 21, 2018

Experience on form 18, the 9th biennial exhibition of sculpture in stone suggests Theresa Thompson.

Set in the beautiful house and grounds of Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire, on form 18 is the only UK exhibition dedicated exclusively to stone sculpture. With over 400 pieces on view, visitors are positively encouraged to touch the art. But hurry, it finishes on 8th July. See the full article here

A glorious day painting at on form 18

Jun 16, 2018

This was a glorious day spent painting sculpture, landscape and flowers, under the inspirational guidance of accomplished artist Susannah Fiennes. This is just one of the ways you can extend your experience of on form. For other workshops, including poetry, painting and stone carving, go to our What's On page. 

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The Lady 8 June 2018

Jun 14, 2018

In the Manor of the Mitfords Asthall Manor plays host to the finest in contemporary sculpture. Charlotte Metcalf explores. 

See the full article here

on form from above

May 26, 2018

We were delighted that Theo Carter was able to visit our newly installed exhibition last weekend and film our 10 acres of garden and meadow. We are looking forward to showing the completed film on the website and in our film room, but here, meanwhile, are some stunning drone shots and atmospheric pre-dawn stills. 

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Nearly there

May 14, 2018

  "How do they get there?" is one of the questions we are most often asked at on form.  As we near the end of our three-week installation period, we thought we'd let you see what has been going on. Sculpture has been placed all over the house and grounds, including in the  swimming pool and even suspended from the trees.  

Sculptors have come all the way from Canada, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as from all over England. New collaborations have formed, as sculptors help each other with some of the technical challenges inevitable when moving heavy pieces of stone.  We hope you enjoy these glimpses of what is, for us, a magical time in which we the sculpture and the landscape seem to bring each other to life. 

Curators on tour

Feb 28, 2018

We thought you'd like to see that, all over the country, sculptors are busy preparing work for on form. We don't want to spoil the surprise, but we'd like to share the unique, dusty and hardworking atmosphere, as well as some of the curious corners that show sculptors' inspiration.

on form bursary 2018 awarded

Feb 06, 2018

London-based artist Emma Elliott receives the second on form bursary, which is given to sculptors under 35 working in stone.  Emma Elliott was classically trained in painting and figurative sculpting both in the UK and Florence. Her excellence in craftsmanship and technique is matched by a fearless questioning of ideologies, religion, ancient and modern society, especially the incongruous and hypocritical aspects of humanity. Watch her film about the making of Reconciliation, one of the pieces we will  be showing at on form, here.

Canopy Tent & Shade Sails for hire

Aug 14, 2017

Espree Canopy Tent to hire – We have a 28 by 38ft tent with attachable sides to rent.


We also have a number of cool shade sails available for hire.  These are waterproof and come with rope and temporary poles.

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Asthall's Grand Day Out - Thank you

Jun 23, 2017

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along to support Asthall's Grand Day Out on Saturday. 

It was a fabulous day out in the sun, and we raised over £7,000 for our three featured charities, welcoming more than 1300 people through the gate, including many happy children. 

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Saturday, June 17 is Asthall's Grand Day Out

Apr 08, 2017

Come and join us for poolside boutiques, feasting and fun! 

Don’t miss this chance to wander through Asthall Manor’s exuberant gardens, which will be at their summery, rose-drenched peak. Along the way, you will discover some of Britain’s top design talent and experience workshops and performances from local charities, whilst tasting Oxfordshire’s most innovative food and drink.  Storytelling for younger visitors too. 

10% of proceeds and all admission will be shared between Oxfam, Climate Outreach and Pegasus Theatre.   These charities will also be present on the day providing information, performances and ethical shopping opportunities. 

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Late summer at on form

Oct 13, 2016

We thought, as the days darken, we’d cheer you with the lovely photographs we’ve just received from Michal Dabrowski, who is a professional photographer in Poland, but spent the summer working as a gardener and installation assistant at on form.   Mishki is second from the right in this accidentally colour-coordinated group on our closing evening. His wife Katia is on the left, and on the right is sculptor Jantien Kahn. thumb_IMG_3618_1024.jpg#asset:3719

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JKM trio brought harmony to our closing weekend

Oct 04, 2016

Our last week-end was enriched by the presence of the JKM Trio, three singers from Amsterdam,  Jessie Ehlhart, Kristin Denzer and Maria Jager. They performed throughout the garden, and in the Ballroom, in a perfect complement to the gentle experience of on form.  Photographs by Jessie Ehlhart and Michal Dabrowski

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Independent Oxford

Aug 25, 2016

The Potting Shed Cafe is a Pop Up Cafe this year hosted by Fiona Cullinane, an inspired chef bringing her eclectic style and imaginative flare to the rural idyll.

The old stone Potting Shed houses the cafe with mismatched garden furniture decorated with cheerful homegrown flowers making up the dining area; it really is like stepping into a Country Living lifestyle shoot.

Twelfth Night

Jul 01, 2016

Despite a damp evening, the Oxford School of Drama students pulled through and shone in their performance of Twelfth Night. William Peers' Ortollo made a spectacular backdrop for their play.

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A wonderful day at on form

Jun 17, 2016

With early entry at 10am, the enthusiasts who signed up for this workshop had a wonderful day exploring the exhibition, while Francesca's instruction in composition and various painting techniques resulted in some wonderful work, adding a whole new level to on form.

There are several more workshops during on form:

Fri 24 June: Drawing with Miranda Johnston

Fri 1 July: Painting with Kieran Stiles

Fri 8 July: Mindful Drawing with Anna Black

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Sculpture Network

May 31, 2016

on form 16, the impressive biennial exhibition of sculpture in stone at Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire, is set to be the largest and most diverse yet.

City & Guilds Students at on form

May 26, 2016

Students from the Historic Carving course at City & Guilds of London Art School came to Asthall to instal their beakhead arch at on form The Beakhead Arch is a first-year project in which students design their own voussoir stone in the Norman style.

City & Guilds of London Art School is a not-for-profit, specialist, higher education institution. The Historic Carving courses began after World War II to train specialists for the restoration of London’s architecture and monuments. They play a crucial role in keeping the important skills of wood and stone carving alive and offer the UK’s only Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas in the subject.

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Stone convoy from Switzerland

May 15, 2016

on form is excited to be showing the work of the highly original and talented Swiss sculptor, Sybille Pasche, for the first time. Her work is on its way. We are looking forward to unwrapping this package........

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First on form bursary awarded

Dec 01, 2015

The on form bursary for a sculptor under 30 working in stone has been awarded to Joshua Locksmith. We saw a wide range of exciting proposals from young sculptors, many of whom we are sure will be seen at on form in future years. Josh studied sculpture at Camberwell College of Art and historic stone carving at City & Guilds. For on form 16, he will be making studies in stone of the most symmetrical structures found in nature, those of viruses, contrasting the beauty of their forms with the darker nature of the afflictions they cause. He would like a percentage of any sales of his work at on form to be donated to people or communities affected by these afflictions.

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on form in full summer

Jul 10, 2014

Our catalogue shots are taken in May, and there are huge changes in the garden before we close in early July. Here are some new photos taken in our last week by Peter van den Berg of the more voluptuous end of the summer. We hope you enjoy them. 

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Salusbury World visits on form

Jun 20, 2014

Salusbury WORLD provides educational, social and emotional support for refugee children, and supports parents and the wider refugee community by providing home/school liaison, family workshops and outings, and also a comprehensive social advice service.

Click here to see the wonderful work that Salusbury WORLD is doing

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Warwickshire Focus Magazine

Jun 08, 2014

Poetry in Stone - Sculptor Jude Tucker's stunning works of art are making great waves in the art world. Enjoy then in all their splendour at the prestigious on form exhibition at Asthall Manor

click here to read the full article

Cotswold Life magazine

May 31, 2014

Sculptural Beauty -  Known as the setting of leading sculpture exhibition on form, Asthall Manor's gardens are a beautiful blend of the traditional and innovative. Mandy Bradshaw

Click here to read the full article

Venus is here

May 18, 2014

Watch sculptor Mel Fraser guide her sensational Venus into her spot on the front lawn, helped by Vitaly Chmut and Philip Walker

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Studio shots

Feb 14, 2014

These shots were taken in Paul Vanstone's studio by photographer Sammy Green. They give a good sense of the stone carving life, and of the hard work that 30 sculptors are embarked on now in preparation for on form 14. 

The Oxford Times

Feb 06, 2014

We taught Holly to swim during picnics close to Asthall bridge, admiring as we did so the gracious lines of the former Mitford home. Later we were able to admire it from much closer to hand as the home of our friend Rosie Pearson. Every other year since 2002, Rosie has thrown open her lovely gardens (designed by Isabel and Julian Bannerman, known for their work at Highgrove House) for an exhibition of outdoor sculpture. She has just sent me a release with information about this year’s on form, from June 8 to July 6. I quote: “on form encourages visitors to open all their senses, with a ‘please do touch’ policy. Strengthening this theme, several sculptures will explore the musical sounds of stone this year, and there will be blindfold tours of parts of the exhibition in order to intensify the sense of touch.

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How the Stone Carves the Sculptor

Feb 06, 2014

by Charlotte Hobson

It is early spring, a day of pale chilly sun and blackbirds in wintery beeches. The garden sleeps demurely, pruned and tied. It betrays no hint of the rebirth stirring in the soil, the explosion of exuberant foliage that is summer at Asthall Manor.

Inside, the long, oak-panelled dining-room hums with the laughter and conversation of people sowing the seeds for on form 2012, Asthall Manor’s other, stranger crop – in stone. At the height of June, the fruits of this lunch will appear in the garden, with their labels like rare plants: Ancaster weatherbed, Crema Fantastica, Yorkshire mudstone, Cornish peridotite, pink Turkish onyx, Tinos green marble. Some pieces of stone have travelled continents to take their places among the borders; others are as familiar and touching as the golden Cotswold landscape itself.

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Evening Standard - “Touch, but don’t take St Pancras’s sculpture”

Jun 11, 2013

A sight for commuters’ sore eyes on Marylebone Road — a crop of sculptures has arrived at St Pancras Church crypt and gardens. They are part of the Onform biennale show, usually held in the grounds of Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire, once the home of the Mitford sisters, but this year also taking a month’s sojourn in London.

Visitors are encouraged to feel the works by sculptors including Simon Hitchens and Lucy Unwin. The exhibition’s curator Anna Greenacre noted shouts of approval from passers-by as the pieces were installed, while Onform’s founder Rosie Pearson applauds stone for both its aesthetic and handy functions.

“Stone is made to be touched,” she says. “Time is embedded in stone, it has its own smell and, best of all, it virtually cannot be stolen because no one could possibly carry it off.”

Evening Standard

Contemporary stone sculpture in London

Jun 11, 2013

(June 2013) Works of 19 sculptors, among them Bridget McCrum and Peter Randall-Page, will be exhibited in the Crypt Gallery at St Pancras Church in London until June, 26. The works are showcased at the onform exhibition which usually takes place every two years at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire and now for the first time has come to London.

Creating both figurative and abstract works, the collection of artists carve in a rich variety of stone sourced from all over the world, including dark grey Kilkenny limestone, honey coloured calcite, Italian blue alabaster, red sandstone and grey-white Carrara marble. The sculpture selected for onform london ranges in size from desk top pieces to much larger works for outdoor display.

The artists are: Peter Brooke-Ball, Katusha Bull, Aly Brown, Frederic Chevarin, Luke Dickinson, Simon Hitchens, Jonathan Loxley, Bridget McCrum, William Peers, Peter Randall-Page, Jordi Raga Frances, Julian Rena, Rachel Schwalm, Sarah Smith, Guy Stevens, Anthony Turner, Lucy Unwin, Paul Vanstone, Dominic Welch.


Culture 24

Jun 09, 2013

Asthall Manor’s seductive onform sculpture show brings stone to London’s Crypt Gallery

Exhibition preview: onform, The Crypt Gallery, London, until June 26 2013

Described as the country’s most seductive sculpture display, the sixth onform, last year, was the most successful edition yet of a group show held at Asthall Manor, in the Cotswolds, ever since owner Rosie Pearson commissioned two gatepost finials from artist Anthony Turner in 2002.

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lecool london on on form london

Jun 09, 2013

Stone sculpture is weird. The words conjure up old English churches and images of an ice sculpture festival without the fun. In reality, one quick look at onform will tell you something different. It’s Britain’s most acclaimed stone sculpture exhibition for a reason and it’s also the only one of its kind. After a series that ran in Oxfordshire, housed in a fittingly smart manor, the exhibition comes to the capital for the first time. Find 29 sculptors on show, with new and established talent. The names of the likes of Bridget McCrum and Peter Randall-Page will mean more to some Londoners than others, but the work on show is varied, and startlingly impressive. Held in the fitting Crypt Gallery (quickly becoming one of our favourite exhibition spaces), it’s raw nature, in two ways. Find out how interesting the earth can be when man plays with it.


Spring is sprung

Mar 07, 2011

Spring has sprung at Asthall Manor. Here are some hellebores and snowdrops floating in a beautiful pink bowl.

Friday July 9th

Jul 11, 2010

On Friday July 9th, world-renowned sculptor Peter Randall-Page gave an illustrated talk about his work. Here, Peter talks to sculptors Anthony Turner and Frederic Chevarin during a walk around the exhibition.

Njabulo Madlala

Jul 04, 2010

On Sunday, 4th July, on form was enriched by singing from acclaimed South African baritone Njabulo Madlala, winner of the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier award. Njabulo sang three African songs in the ballroom, as a preview of a concert he will give in Oxford on August 23rd. (Holywell Music Rooms, 7.30 pm. Bookings 01865 202443 Gina Cowen)
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Artists in residence

Jun 29, 2010

John Joekes, Jude Tucker and Luke Dickinson were some of the artists in residence at Asthall Manor last week. Jude has been carving a new piece in alabaster during the show.

Emily Young

Jun 29, 2010

Emily Young, shown here beside her work The Equation of Time , visited on form on Friday 24th June to talk about her work and sign copies of her extraordinary book, _Time in the Stone.

Dance and Drama groups perform at Asthall

Jun 29, 2010

On Sunday June 27th, two groups from Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre came to on form. First, the youth theatre group performed ‘Caring for Lear’ – a moving adaptation of King Lear. The piece made inspired use of different parts of the garden, with the audience following the players from site to site. Later in the afternoon, the Dance Company performed their version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, which again made use of various different parts of the garden, and provided an inventive response to some of the sculpture. *For more information about Pegasus Theatre, or to make a donation, go to*

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Jackie Wullschlager in The Financial Times

Jun 29, 2010

on form has since 2002 presented a show whose focus and dedication is in a different class from the potpourri of conceptual installations elsewhere.

on form is a serious, committed, intellectually adventurous biennial exhibition of stone sculpture, the largest of its kind in the UK. In this Jacobean house with acres of gardens and yew walks, orchards and lakes, Pearson showcases two dozen of the most accomplished artists in this difficult but compelling medium – by which heavy inert rock is transformed into something dynamic, and our connection with landscape and nature re-affirmed.

Some are well-known. Emily Young’s wonderfully luminous pierced discs and pared-down, silent figures; Peter Randall-Page’s delicate balance between geometry and the random vagaries of stone markings; Bridget McCrum’s abstracted animals. Among younger artists, Paul Vanstone’s huge expressive heads, Luke Dickinson’s abstractions on the theme of movement and growth; the raw surface textures and solemn serenity in the work of Simon Hitchens….are notable, though at Asthall there are always new discoveries. “Do touch” the signs read, inviting tactile experience of the shapes, textures and temperatures of exotically named stones – Swaledale fossil, Plumpton red, Ancaster weatherbed, Portuguese Estramoze – as well as the material’s timeless, time-arresting quality.

For the original article, click here

School visit

Jun 25, 2010

Children from an Oxfordshire primary school came to visit on form on Thursday, 24th July. They particularly enjoyed watching sculptor Jude Tucker as she carved a piece of alabaster on site. Their teacher said she wished she had allowed an entire day for the visit.


Jun 25, 2010

Chocstar visited on form on Wednesday, 23rd July. Petra Barran, assisted by her brother Ferdie and watched closely by resident gourmands Billie and Baby, dispensed ice cream and brownies to happy visitors.
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The Gardeners

Jun 25, 2010

Head gardener Mark Edwards (right) and assistant gardener Michal Dabrowski (left) are responsible for the amazing show of roses and other flowers which form the backdrop to our exhibition.

Geologist Philip Powell

Jun 15, 2010

Philip Powell, MA, Honorary Associate Curator of the Natural History Museum in Oxford, came to on form to speak about the different stones used in the sculptures. This is one of a series of informal talks which will be taking place during the month-long exhibition.

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But is it green?

Jun 14, 2010

The other day I was talking to somebody about on form, and enthusing, as I tend to, about the aeons of tiny sea creatures, volcanic explosions, sedimentation and erosion, and how the history of the material means that stone sculpture slows us down and reconnects us to the landscape, and he just looked at me and said “I’d rather just go and climb a mountain.” Well, there is that. I am constantly struggling to reduce my carbon footprint, so what am I doing, I wonder, encouraging the quarrying of stone, the flights to Italy and India to buy it, the great big lorries that bring it here and take it away again? Shouldn’t the stone just stay in the ground? It’s where you just have to hope that the pursuit of beauty and meaning justifies a certain amount of disruption. We’re not dead. We’re breathing. So we’d better carry on creating. At least, I argue rather lamely, these artists work in open-sided barns, quite often with hand tools, and not in the giant heated studios of Bratart. And this stuff does, after all, slow people down.

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Tea break

Jun 01, 2010

Sculptors and friends take a break during the installation of Immanuel Klein’s Erosion.


May 26, 2010

The first day of our main installation fortnight went well, with Simon Hitchens, Julian Rena, Luke Dickinson and Rachel Schwalm all arriving to deliver and instal work. The day was covered by a journalist from BBC Oxford, and Simon Hitchens, Rosie Pearson and Billie the dog all featured on the evening news.

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Make an Exhibition

Jun 08, 2008

Rosie found herself taking on “a sort of mission” to convert people to the beauty of contemporary sculpture in stone…At first, the main attraction for visitors was to look at the house….[but] the sculptures are increasingly becoming the main attraction. This year…among the exhibits will be an iconic pierced disc of chalcedony by Emily Young, Bridget McCrum’s elegant abstracted animal forms and Paul Vanstone’s sophisticated stone renditions of Greek-inspired drapery.

Galleries Magazine

Jun 01, 2008

Summer always brings with it the pleasure of looking at sculpture out of doors and there can be few more idyllic settings for it than Asthall Manor in the Windrush Valley, arguably the most beautiful river landscape in the Cotswolds. on form has established an enviable reputation among such shows for its range and adventurousness in the 4 years of its existence, and this year’s version is no exception, with Anthony Turner, Nicolas Moreton and Mat Chivers particularly catching the eye.

Art Alfresco

May 31, 2008

The National Trust Magazine

What better way to discover fresh works of art than on a stroll through the gardens of Asthall Manor? The house, once the home of the Mitford girls, is the perfect backdrop for large-scale forms.

A Pursuit of Love

May 31, 2008

Telegraph Magazine

on form, an outdoor biennial of some 40 pieces in the garden, is now in its eighth year and steadily gaining gravitas. The stony theme is strictly adhered to, which weeds out less committed sculptors; you have to be dedicated to stand in a freezing shed with hammer and chisel chipping away at a piece of marble. Many visitors come to see the Mitfords’ old home, but are converted to this genre and find themselves caressing curves of Purbeck stone or Plumpton red.

Historic Gardens of Oxfordshire

Nov 01, 2007

Anyone with any doubts about modern abstract sculpture should visit on form in 2008 to experience the amazing mutual flattery of stone and flowers.

The Observer, Critics Choice

Jun 01, 2006

“On form 06 - Over 50 pieces by 15 sculptors in the ravishing gardens of Asthall Manor and in the ballroom built for the Mitfords.”

Oxford Times

Jun 01, 2006

“This is the third of Rosie’s exhibitions, and as full of pleasures and surprises as ever.  There are 15 artists and more than 50 major works, some eye-catchingly displayed, others met almost casually along paths and under trees…”

Galleries Magazine

Jun 01, 2006

“..the beautiful riverside setting of this Oxfordshire house [attracts] an impressive roster of leading names…”

Cotswold Life

Jun 01, 2006

“The exhibition first attracted notice for its exquisite Cotswold setting,and for the manor’s connections with the Mitford family, but since it began four years ago, it is now gaining a reputation in its own right.”

Country Life

Jun 01, 2006

“Style in stone… These beautiful works carved in stone have timeless power and a strong connection with the landscape; the exhibition will appeal to serious collectors and interested visitors alike.”

House and Garden

Jun 01, 2005

“What strikes visitors to the Garden at Asthall Manor is how much it is loved” House & Garden“Asthall surges with creativity, but more important, it belongs to the secret valley that first enchanted its owner.”

Oxfordshire Life

Jun 01, 2004

“At on form, the rich variety of source material, colour and textures celebrate the beauty, simplicity and power of sculpture in stone.”

The Evening Standard

Jun 01, 2004

“See new and exciting pieces of sculpture set in the grand garden of Asthall Manor”

Connaught magazine

Jun 01, 2004

“The idea of sculpture at Asthall has turned out to be truly inspired. Beautifully landscaped gardens have proved to be the perfect setting for sculpture.”

Warwickshire Life

Jun 01, 2004

“The gardens of Asthall Manor were used for on form 04 taking sculpture out of the gallery and putting it into a living breathing space.”

The Daily Telegraph

Jun 01, 2002

“Never one for aesthetes, no doubt uncle Matthew would have been horrified by Asthall’s beautiful, sculpture filled grounds.”