Art park to be set among ruins

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The Independent Online
A NEW sculpture park with pounds 500,000-worth of modern British works is to be developed in historic parkland surrounding a beautiful ruined Victorian mansion.

The Jerwood Foundation, known for its prestigious annual prize for contemporary art, is joining forces with English Heritage for the venture at Witley Court near Worcester. It will be the third full-size sculpture park in Britain, after Yorkshire and Goodwood in West Sussex.

The first work which will be displayed is a bronze sculpture nearly seven feet high by the late Dame Elizabeth Frink called Walking Man, purchased for just over pounds 40,000. The aim is to buy up to 40 works over the next three years for the extensive grounds of Witley Court which are being restored. One-third of the sculptures will be by established artists, one-third by artists living and working in the West Midlands and the remainder by young sculptors.

"I think it will sit well with our painting prize. It is a proper way of making a statement for sculpture, creating a facility for people to see sculpture in a wonderful setting," said Alan Grieve, chairman and director of the Jerwood Foundation.

Witley Court was owned by a number of wealthy families from the early 17th century. The existing buildings, which are mainly Victorian, were destroyed by fire in 1937.

The sculpture park is part of pounds 7m capital expenditure planned by the foundation, set up to commemorate John Jerwood, a pearl dealer. It has not previously given capital grants. Other projects include an award of pounds 900,000 to the Natural History Museum to restore a major gallery to display drawings, paintings and prints, and pounds 1.4m to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, for a new Jerwood Library.