In the Country of Beasts: A Travel to the Estate of Lynn Chadwick
The exhibition “Lynn Chadwick – Beasts of the Times. Lynn Chadwick, Katja Strunz, Hans Uhlmann” opened at Georg Kolbe Museum and Haus am Waldsee in the middle of may. Within the scope of the preparations, Elisa Tamaschke and I have traveled to Stroud in Gloucestershire, which is located in the south-west of London. There we were able to research at the former studio of Lynn Chadwick for two days.
The Estate of Lynn Chadwick is situated in Lypiatt Park, a 90 hectare property with a victorian castle in neo-Gothic style, which the artist acquired in 1958 and was the centre of his life and work until his death in 2003. Nowadays, his daughter Sarah Chadwick administers his inheritance, whilst the property is lived-in by his son David, who also works as an artist. Chadwick had created a studio in a former stable. Now it contains the storage space with hundreds of sculptures, an office and the archive. Art, live and work still blend into each other like during Chadwick’s lifetime: An early “mobile” from 1952 hangs above the writing desk. A well-known sculpture stands in the corner, next to some filing shelves. The atmosphere is different than in a orderly museum.
The estate is composed of bigger sculptures, smaller maquettes, publications, photos and drawings. We find illustrations of works, installation views, official portraits for magazines and gain a deep insight into the private life of the artist through lots of photos. Even Lord Snowdon had taken his portrait. Therefore, Chadwick knew the celebrity photographer, who took pictures of Lady Di and the royals, as he was married to the Queen’s sister.
Everybody in the countryside who works for the estate, does so with great passion. Everyone engages fully with the handling of the extensive inheritance and the many requests for exhibitions. Sarah Chadwick’s stories create a more vivid picture and we get a very personal glimpse into the childhood at Lypiatt park during the 1960s, when they could climb onto sculptures outside. “I want to keep his legacy alive” says Sarah. She works on keeping the art of her father well-preserved and continuing the discussions on his works.
Text: Natalie Weiland, Exhibition and Research Assistant at Haus am Waldsee