by Arianne Churchman

16 September – 31 October 2017

Arianne Churchman has taken the folk costume worn by the Hopper Joe character in the Cropwell Bishop Plough Mondayplay as the focus for her performance and exhibition. The smock that was last worn in 1895 is on display in Nottingham Castle’s Threads gallery, on permanent loan from the Folklore Society.

Hopper Joe appears only momentarily during the play, but is one of the only characters to pass between audience and an informal stage. He is a farm labourer as he can plough, sow, reap and mow. His role throughout the play is to collect money from the audience and place it in the seed hopper that he carries in front of him.

HORSE-PLAY utilises Hopper Joe’s ‘ragbag’ sensibilities to explore the costumes context within The Story of English Clowningand the dubious authenticity of the smock. The Story of English Clowning was staged at Nottingham Castle in 1977 and curated by poet and exhibition designer Arnold Rattenbury (1921-1967). Rattenbury grouped folkloric objects and costumes into two categories – those involved in horseplay, and those used in the transformation of normative modes of behaviour. Hopper Joe falls into the latter.

The exhibition comes following a recent performance by Arianne at Nottingham Castle, also titled HORSE-PLAY. The performance channeled the Hopper Joe character and the 1977 procession of the Minehead Hobby Horse, which took place around the castle site and grounds. Originating from Somerset (c.1830) and traditionally performed on May Day, the brightly coloured and decorated Minehead Hobby Horse traverses the town’s borders creating a ritual space.

Arianne is the winner of the Nottingham Castle Open 2016 solo exhibition prize. Within her practice Arianne investigates British folk traditions and celebrations using performance, film, sound and sculpture. She questions how we might import or re-imagine ancient rituals, beliefs and rites within our modern life.

Shifting Landscapes

23 September 2017 – 31 March 2018

We experience landscape in so many ways.

It is here and now, under our feet as we go about our daily lives, or seen through the windows of a car, bus or train. It exists in our memory, the image perhaps blurred by the passing years. It is the backdrop to holidays, our back garden, the view from an upstairs window, or the cluster of weeds growing through tarmac at the side of the road.
Landscape rarely stays the same. Shaped by the elements, it also bears the traces of what we have done to it. There are few truly wild places left; most we have trodden, mined, developed, fought to protect, tamed, farmed, bombed, polluted, recreated, replanted.
During the Industrial Revolution the countryside was romanticised as a place of timeless beauty and healthy living: a safe haven, far from the polluted air of the over-crowded cities. The taste for landscape art, acquired by aristocratic young men on their Grand Tour of Europe in the 18th century, evolved in to a love of the British landscape, fuelled by artists and poets.

Today landscape continues to provide rich inspiration for artists. Shifting Landscapes is inspired by one of them, Conrad Atkinson, and a group of his works which we have recently acquired for the Museum’s collection.

Other artists featuring in the exhibition include Thomas Joshua Cooper, Saul Fletcher, Alice Channer, Paul Sandby, Richard Wentworth, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Sidney Cooper, Susan Hiller, Matthias Withoos , L.S. Lowry and Jitka Hanzlová.


Philip Gurrey, Maisie Broadhead, Glenn Brown, Sasha Bowles, Paul Stephenson, Matthieu Leger, Annie Kevans, Antony Micallef, Jasleen Kaur, Samin Ahmadzadeh, Julie Cockburn, James E Smith and Jake Wood-Evans

27 May to 10 September 2017

The portrait has continued to be one of the most recognised, revisited, and arguably the most celebrated art forms throughout history. Exclusive to Nottingham Castle, this exhibition demonstrates how classical and traditional figurative portraiture continues to inspire artists today, and remains relevant within contemporary artistic discourse.

Reportrait presents thirteen artists who have reimagined historical sources, altered or disrupted typical notions of how the portrait is defined, or used an image or reproduction as a starting point to create something new.

Consisting of new commissions made in direct response to Nottingham City Museums & Galleries collections, alongside loans, and works straight from the artist’s studios, the exhibition showcases painting, photography, installation, digital art, sculpture, video and drawing, many of which have never been seen in public before.

Close Distance

Prospect Room
Wollaton Hall
6 March – 2 May 2017

Caroline Broadhead, Nic Sandiland and Angela Woodhouse present Close Distance which has been created for the magnificent rooftop Prospect Room at Wollaton Hall, with its views across the surrounding park and city beyond.

This new commission presented by Nottingham City Museums and Galleries offers visitors a unique experience of an area of the house rarely visited by the public. Artists Caroline, Nic and Angela have taken inspiration from the building’s history and inhabitants, exploring such details as 17th century embroidered costume belonging to the middleton family who once lived in the Hall, and the doors that separated the kitchens and servants’ quarters from the family rooms upstairs. Nic and Angela have worked with image, sound, and movement to create a series of intimate film works that are integrated with Caroline’s reinvented found objects. All these elements find synergy in this atmospheric installation.

“…Images will shift from the open landscape to the enclosed and restricted spaces in which servants were confined, indicating the labours and life that differentiated the people, their roles and their position in the 17th century household.”

Saving treasures – Felix Joseph’s gifts to Nottingham

20 May – 10 September

Art collector Felix Joseph was one of the first individuals to give generously to Nottingham’s museum and art gallery at the Castle when it first opened in 1878. Although he was from a Jewish art dealer family based in London and had no links to Nottingham, he heard about the new art gallery that was being set up and wanted to firstly loan and then donate his substantial collection of Wedgwood pottery and eighteen-century drawings and prints.

In honour of his generosity the Castle Museum Committee commissioned a portrait of him by Charles Knighton Warren, and this portrait will be moved from its usual place in the Long Gallery and will form part of this in focus exhibition which highlights some of the many works on paper and Wedgwood that Felix Joseph donated. Eighteen century artists Samuel Wale, Paul Sandby, Angelica Kauffman, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Stothard and John Flaxman are all represented in this small exhibition.

The Object is Alive: Matthew Darbyshire

28 January – 14 May 2017

The Object is Alive has invited British artist Matthew Darbyshire to develop a new exhibition that actively engages with Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, and is influenced by the work of Polish artist and theatre maker Tadeusz Kantor, who was interested in the role and status of the object.  Matthew has reimagined 12 objects from Nottingham Castle’s collections – including 20th century studio pottery, modernist sculpture and even a grenade from the Regimental Museum. By playing with scale and devising new materials and techniques, including experimenting with different concrete formulas, he has created a series of new works exclusively for the Castle.

A complimentary guide accompanies the exhibition, featuring all 12 of Matthew’s original object choices, and a critical essay contribution by Emily LaBarge.

The Object is Alive: Matthew Darbyshire is the first in a series of exhibitions that actively explore the role of object as discussed in Kantor’s writing and artistic outputs. Funded by Arts Council England and the Henry Moore Foundation, this exhibition is part of a collaborative project with Radar at Loughborough University, and will be followed by Mike Cooter at New Walk Museum, Leicester (Winter 2017), and Giles Round at Derby Museums (Spring 2018).