The Garden Gallery in Stockbridge
The beautiful village of Broughton near Stockbridge is home to a serene garden displaying contemporary sculptures from some 50 artists. We visited gallery owner, Rachel Bebb to find out more
Hidden behind a hedge off a small country lane lies The Garden Gallery. If you didn’t know where to look, you could easily pass by unaware that beyond the beautiful house lies an enchanting sculpture garden.Stone, bronze, steel, glass, wood and ceramic creations all have their own unique position – allowing visitors to wander and enjoy each individual sculpture in its own glory.The whole concept is down to Garden Designer, Rachel Bebb, who opened The Garden Gallery in her back garden 19 years ago."I was keen to encourage people to support artists when buying sculpture, or even just a bird bath, for their gardens," explains Rachel.The gallery proved so popular, that Rachel no longer has the time to design gardens, "but I am able to advise on placing sculpture in gardens, and my experience is helpful when setting up exhibitions," she says.Open by arrangement, visitors can expect to see sculptures from around 50 artists from all over the country and oversees."Most are well established with some emerging – and the work is of the highest quality," says Rachel. "Most of the pieces are displayed in the garden, enabling visitors to visualise them in their own outside spaces. I also have a small indoor gallery and I’m increasingly showing lovely ceramics and small sculptures for interiors."Rachel is also keen to showcase the work of local artists such as Tracey Sheppard FGE from Winchester."She is an outstandingly talented glass engraver and has exhibited at the gallery for several years. Tracey also carried out a commission for local children’s hospice, Naomi House, enabled by the gallery."Another Hampshire-based artist new to the gallery this year is Robyn Golden-Hann."Robyn does beautiful lettering on stone and is creating a piece for my indoor gallery," explains Rachel. On a personal level, Rachel loves the work of Charlotte Mayer FRBS."Charlotte has exhibited here almost since I started. Her work is serene and poised, simultaneously classic and contemporary. Everyone loves it and it sells well. I also love glass sculpture and am particularly fond of the work of Sally Fawkes and Richard Jackson, a married couple who create their own pieces but sometimes collaborate. Another favourite is Elizabeth Herkstroter-Postma who works largely in marble."This spring, the gallery will be opening The Sculpted Stone exhibition on 11th May, offering private viewings of the work of 12 artists as well as new work from current artists."I am having a special focus on stone. A number of sculptors will be exhibiting sculpture in a variety of stones, offering the opportunity to study this ancient intriguing material and consider how it contributes to the identity of landscape," she enthuses. "I am very much looking forward to showing stone sculptures by Alyosha Moeran for the first time."If the last exhibition is anything to go by, The Sculpted Stone should be a huge success."Reflect at Winchester Cathedral was very much enjoyed and I received a lot of positive feedback," explains Rachel. "All the sculptures shown were abstract and beautifully lit and it was good to see visitors intrigued and gladdened by them and their presence in the Cathedral. I also curated an exhibition at Winchester’s Discovery Centre last winter," she continues, "‘The Figure in the Landscape’ brought together a group of sculptors and ceramic artists for whom the landscape and the organic forms it supports are a powerful influence on their work. A number of artists from The Garden Gallery - Charlotte Mayer FRBS, Lotte Glob, Keith Rand ARBS, Adam Buick, Roger Stephens and Rebecca Newnham ARBS - exhibited alongside Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Peter Randall-Page, Emily Young and others. The exhibition received 9,500 visitors - a record!"To find out more about The Garden Gallery or The Sculpted Stone exhibition, please go to www.gardengallery.uk.com or contact Rachel Bebb on 01794 301144.