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Wallsworth Hall

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Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, Gloucester

Wallsworth Hall has a curiously obscure history. The name dates back to 1200 and means 'the enclosure of Walh the Welshman'. It was built soon after 1740 by Samuel Hayward, a local businessman, landowner and magistrate. A memorial stone to him and his wife Catherine (and their two children) can be found in Gloucester Cathedral .The painting of the Hall set in the overmantle in Gallery One is a copy of an engraving made in 1772 for Samuel Rudder's famous book, 'A New History of Gloucestershire' (published 1779) and depicts the Hall as it was in Samuel Haywards day (below middle). It was built on the site of a timbered house (probably Tudor), parts of which still remain today. The oldest part of the building faces up the side garden and is built of locally made bricks laid as 'headers' (with their ends showing on the outside). The quoins are sandstone. The main front was added a little later and has several architectural features typical of the period. It has a central and slightly projecting third with three circular windows for the attic, also in 'header' brickwork and stone quoins, supported each side by a more usual arrangement of brickwork that is a variant of English bond. The two porch pillars and pediment are decorated with the typical, but now scarce, 'icicle pattern' stonework which is typical of the mid 1700's (below right). Inside, many of the original features still survive, including the magnificent staircase. A fine example of its period, the carved twisted 'barley sugar' balusters, newels, hand rails and moulded underside are all made in mahogany. The house was later bequeathed to Samuel Hayward's son-in-law, a de Winton, because Samuel's son died when only seven years old

Nature in Art Museum, Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, GloucesterThe Hall was purchased by Gloucester City Corporation during the second World War at the instigation of the government who used it as a residential nursery to care for infants whose mothers were working as part of the war effort (above right). With a fully qualified staff, it was also used a centre for training nursery nurses and remained so until 1953. The house then fell into private hands and rather than reverting to a fine family home, spent much of the time empty, part of the time as a furniture store for a local auction house and part of the time as maisonettes.

In 1987 Nature in Art Trust bought Wallsworth Hall. Much of the fabric of the building had suffered more than had at first been thought and renovation work took 12 months to complete. Serious outbreaks of dryrot and other common (though potentially disastrous) ailments had to be carefully and comprehensively tackled whilst retaining the original features and without disturbing in the roof one of the largest bat roosts in the County. Finally the building was made suitable for the display and storage of art. A series of exhibition spaces of character and quality were created and a new era in the history of Wallsworth Hall began

Nature in Art
Fine decorative and applied art inspired by nature. An unrivalled collection spanning 1500 years, 60 countires and artists as diverse as David Shepherd, Picasso, Bugatti, Scott, Flemish masters, ethnic art, modern crafts and much more - there is something for everyone here! Artists demonstrating from February - November. Twice specially commended in the National Museum of the Year Awards.

Nature in Art is the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature.

There growing collection is housed in a fine Georgian mansion dating from the mid 1700’s. They regularly change their displays and have a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions supported by an unrivalled programme of artists in residence. International in scope, appeal and stature, Nature in Art is a must for all those interested in world-class art, nature and heritage.

The museum has twice been specially commended in the National Heritage Museum of the Year Awards. With a licensed coffee shop serving meals, plus gardens, free parking and a beautiful setting.

The unique range of work found at Nature in Art represents the very many different approaches to the subject that artists have used. A wide range of styles are included from the hyper-realist to abstract (pictures, sculptures and objects), with oils, watercolours, acrylics, mixed media, ceramics, glass, wood, fabrics and many other media all being represented.

Visitors always find it a rewarding experience to see fine, applied and decorative arts, all with a nature theme, displayed together. Ours is a deliberately all-embracing collection linked by its truly international quality and nature theme. So, it is not uncommon for visitors to see pictures by artists as diverse as Picasso, Jan van Kessel the Younger, Scott, Combes, Thorburn, Shepherd or Keulemans together with a byzantine mosaic or objects by Galle, Lalique and 18th and 19th century British or Japanese ceramic makers.

Archibald Thorburn Joseph Wolf Alan Reynolds Sarah Stone
Archibald Thorburn
Joseph Wolf
Alan Reynolds
Sarah Stone

In the same setting there may be sculptures by Ullberg (below left), Mathews, Pytel, Sharpe (below right), Shona carvers from Zimbabwe or the Inuit of the Arctic. Some exhibits may be extremely small - our collection of fine Japanese netsuke would be a good example, whilst others may be of special note due to their large size, be they the life-size tiger by Rembrandt Bugatti (below middle and currently on loan to the museum), or the seven foot canvases by Michael Porter and Swedish artist Lennart Sand.

Kent Ulberg Rembrandt Bugatti John Sharp
Kent Ulberg
Rembrandt Bugatti
(1884-1916) (on loan)
John Sharp

Inevitably, visitors are elated to have expectations fulfilled but their experience is enhanced by being able to make new discoveries and new connections. There is no collection anywhere quite like Nature in Art's. International in scope, appeal and stature, it is no surprise that Nature in Art has twice been a winner of a special commendation in the renowned National Heritage Museum of the Year Awards and once short-listed for the European Museum of the Year Awards.

An ambitious programme of changes within the galleries ensure regular visitors are always certain of seeing new exhibits (season tickets are available). This is as a result of Nature in Art's policy of trying to show every item in the collection for at least part of the year! Links with museums throughout the world also result in prestigious loans being put on display just as Nature in Art itself lends items to other museums across the globe. With such a diverse collection, although changes to the displays are made regularly, only a small proportion of the collection is on show at any one time. However, we are always pleased to hear from anyone who wants to see work by a particular artist. By arrangement (and if their chosen artist is represented in the collection), it can be possible for them to see the work even if not on current display.

Nigel Jones b.1965 17th century Chinese makimono Anne Jones b.1941
Nigel Jones b.1965 17th century Chinese makimono (detail) Anne Jones b.1941

We have a comprehensive and diverse programme of temporary exhibitions. To complement the diversity of the collection, for at least ten months of the year artists from around the world also demonstrate their skills in our unique artist in residence programme. Fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature is part of our heritage and deserves to be enjoyed, studied and protected, just as people are more determined than ever to safeguard our wildlife and environment. As an important centre of museum and art excellence, NATURE IN ART will also inspire the nature lover.

Wallsworth Hall
Gloucester GL2 9PA
01452 731422

Opening times:
Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 5pm and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Closed December 24th - 26th and Mondays

There is ample free parking within 50 yards of the main door. Disabled drivers can use designated spaces immediately outside the front door.

They regularly welcome individuals and groups with disabilities. There is ramped access for wheelchair users. Inside there is a lift and level or ramped access to the garden, art studios etc and wheelchair users toilets.

Nature in Art is 2 miles north of Gloucester on the main A38. It is marked by brown tourism signs.
Tewkesbury and Cheltenham are within easy reach (approx. 7 miles).

Nearest train station:
Gloucester (10 min by taxi)

Nearest bus station:
Gloucester (10 min). Take bus No 71.

The museum has a half mile drive. If you cannot manage the walk call 01452 733946 and they will arrange a free lift.


Wallsworth Hall