Yorkshire Sculpture Park And Cannon Hall Museum

June 2010


Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is an international gallery for modern and contemporary sculpture. Set in the grounds and gardens of a 500-acre, eighteenth century estate, it is one of the world’s leading open – air galleries. It has an award winning Visitor Centre complete with gift shop and restaurant,with stunning views over the landscape, YSP has four indoor exhibition areas, including the magnificent Underground Gallery.

Our visit took in the David Nash Exhibition, tracing the evolution of his 40 year career.

We were given a special tour led by YSP Curators to provide an academic insight into the collection. We learnt something about David Nash’s methods of working with different types of wood – which he variously carved, weathered, charred, and floated down rivers!

We were allowed to touch many of the pieces, which added greatly to the experience as they were so irrresistably tactile.

The film we viewed in the Bothy Gallery about the journey of Nash’s boulder was the most fascinating short film I have ever seen in a museum. We were transfixed by the sight of the boulder floating downstream, under bridges and out into the ocean like some mythical sea creature. By the end of it we almost believed that like Geppetto, Nash had magically bestowed the gift of life on this circle of wood.

We enjoyed a lunch of soup and sandwiches in a reserved area of the restaurant. After that there was some free time to explore the grounds and despite the relentless rain, many of us braved the elements and managed to view some of the outdoor exhibits.

The park has some amazing pieces by sculptors such as Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Antony Gormley, Andy Goldsworthy and Elizabeth Frink. The grounds are so vast there was far too much to cover in the limited time that we had, but it is certainly worth another trip. Many members had already visited several times and others said they were keen to revisit now they had been given a glimpse of what was on offer.


Later in the afternoon we went on to Cannon Hall at Cawthorne, near Barnsley. The Entrance Hall is the core of the 17th century Hall, though it was substantially re-designed in the early 1760s, by the eminent architect John Carr of York, who also designed Lytham Hall, Fairfax House in York, and Harewood House. The Hall has a Moorcroft Ceramics Gallery, a decorative and fine arts gallery and is home to the Museum of the 13th/18th Hussars and Light Dragoons. There is a walled garden and the grounds were resplendent with rhododendrons with some spectacular vistas beyond. There were also a few small outdoor sculptures.


It was quite a long day and the bad weather hardly let up but the mood on the coach was very upbeat. Everyone seemed to have a good time so many thanks to Barbara for organising such a great trip.