How Norfolk’s Houghton Hall inspired Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Long’s latest show

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with Full Moo

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with Full Moon Circle, commissioned in 2003. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

He has travelled the world creating art in the landscape, and for his latest show Richard Long is using the historic Houghton Hall as his canvas. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more about the Turner Prize-winning artist's latest show.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is A Line in Norfolk. Pictur

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is A Line in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

He has travelled the world creating art in the landscape, and for his latest show Richard Long is using the historic Houghton Hall as his canvas. Arts correspondent Emma Knights finds out more about the Turner Prize-winning artist's latest show.

Within the stunning setting of north Norfolk's Houghton Hall an intriguing new collection of art is waiting to be discovered.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Pi

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

New yet seemingly timeless, it casts a different light on the 18th century home that was once the residence of Britain's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.


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Among the works is White Deer Circle, a mysterious and prehistoric-like ring of upturned tree stumps that has sprung up in the grounds and is reminiscent of Seahenge at Holme, while to the west of the hall is A Line in Norfolk, a striking 84-metre strip of burnt orange-coloured carrstone which has a curious and commanding presence. Visitors who venture inside into the Stone Hall will also find North South East West, a circle of slate and flint adorning the elaborate surrounds like the most precious of jewels.

This is EARTH SKY, the latest exhibition by Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Long whose work has taken him across the globe, creating his trademark art of lines, spirals and circles everywhere from Antarctica to Argentina to China.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Pi

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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'My work is to celebrate all the different landscapes around the world, and this [EARTH SKY] is one particular landscape, the English landscape,' said Mr Long.

His Houghton exhibition also includes a swirling spiral of slate called Wilderness Dreaming, a jagged installation on the manicured lawn of the walled garden called Houghton Cross, and 'mud waterfall works' in the hall's colonnades called White Water Falls.

It is the largest show of Mr Long's work since his retrospective Heaven and Earth at Tate Britain in 2009.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is A Line in Norfolk. Pictur

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is A Line in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The roots of this latest exhibition actually go back well over a decade, as it was in 2003 that Mr Long created his first work for Houghton Hall's owner, the Marquess of Cholmondeley.

A vast circle of carefully arranged slate, it is entitled Full Moon Circle because as the finishing touches were being made the full moon was shining in the night sky.

Now, with six more major works also added to the Houghton landscape, Mr Long is presenting EARTH SKY.

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with Full Moo

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with Full Moon Circle, commissioned in 2003. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Explaining the name of his new show, he said: 'When I make a work in the landscape - for example I could make a circle of stones - I don't only look at the circle of stones, I look at the whole space which could be as far as the eye could see, and then there is the sky above, so EARTH SKY means the totality of looking at something with the sky above.'

When asked about his key inspirations from Houghton, he said: 'I think the enormous space of the lawns.

'It's the first time I've had the chance to show big works on a big scale, and also the variety of the locations [within Houghton] means I can show a big variety of different types of sculptures – lines, crosses, circles, flint, slate.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is North South East West. A

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is North South East West. A slate and flint circle in the Stone Hall. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'It's a big opportunity – and you get white deer [which roam the estate] thrown in too!'

The materials he uses are also key to his work, and he is always keen to source as much as he can locally.

'A Line in Norfolk is made of carrstone which is reddish stone, then there's the big circle work, called North South East West, in the Stone Hall made of Norfolk flint and Cornish slate. In some ways the materials of this show are what England is made of,' he said.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is North South East West. A

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is North South East West. A slate and flint circle in the Stone Hall. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Visitors can also see a snapshot of Mr Long's work from elsewhere in the world in a gallery within the exhibition which is full of photographs and text works. There is a focus on many of Mr Long's epic walks which he has turned into art. He is proud to say he was the first person to walk across Dartmoor in a straight line and his other walks have included walking from the southern most tip of England to the most northern part of Scotland as well as walking from his home in Bristol to the home of a friend living in Norfolk.

He said: 'An important part of EARTH SKY is the exhibition room with the photographs of sculptures I have made in different landscapes around the world, like in Bolivia, in the Antarctic, in South Africa...and also the text works which represent my walks, which is another aspect of my work.

'The walking, in fact, is a very important aspect, maybe the most important aspect, because the heart of my work is walking in landscapes and making sculptures along the way.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'My sculpture is about different places and this EARTH SKY exhibition happens to be about the place of an English country house.'

EARTH SKY: Richard Long at Houghton, which is curated by Lorcan O'Neill in association with Mr Long, runs until October 26.

It is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. Tickets cost £18 to visit the exhibition, house, gardens and grounds, and £10 to visit just the gardens and grounds. Children aged 16 and under are free. Visit www.houghtonhall.com

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is Wilderness Dreaming. Pict

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is Wilderness Dreaming. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

AN 18TH CENTURY HOME INSPIRING 21ST CENTURY ART

A passionate collector of art, the Marquess of Cholmondeley has filled his beautiful estate's grounds with contemporary works by an array of artists, and he said it was a real privilege for his home to be the setting for the latest Richard Long exhibition.

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with the Houg

Earth Sky is the new exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here artist Richard Long is pictured with the Houghton Cross. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

It is the third major art exhibition in five years that Houghton Hall has hosted.

Starting with Houghton Revisited, which saw paintings once owned by Britain's first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, brought back to their original home in 2013, the estate then presented the 2015 Lightscape exhibition of lightworks by contemporary American artist James Turrell, and now Richard Long's EARTH SKY is taking centre stage.

'The first one, Houghton Revisited, was so different, it was a great historic exhibition,' said Lord Cholmondeley.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Pi

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'Turrell was light, it was again a very different sort of show, a very different artist, but both [James Turrell and Richard Long] have a simplicity to their work. Turrell working with light and Richard working with stone, and certainly one feels there's a sort of fellowship in their art.'

Bringing modern art to Houghton's grounds was in fact inspired by an 18th century tradition of follies.

'The idea really was [from] looking at the old maps of Houghton and seeing the follies and garden structures that were originally on the west side but have since disappeared. It came to me it would be wonderful to do something of our own time in that spirit - large-scale contemporary pieces as modern follies.'

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here pictured with the White Water Fa

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Here pictured with the White Water Falls. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Reflecting on the Richard Long exhibition, he said: 'For Richard, his big shows have always been in galleries, there was a wonderful retrospective at Tate Britain, but this is probably the largest collection of major outdoor work he's ever done.'

He added: 'I think it fits so well. The pieces seem as if they have been there forever. They have a permanence to them, although they may not unfortunately all be permanent. To me the henge of tree stumps is like a prehistoric artwork almost...Richard's a contemporary artist but these forms have been used in art for millennia - circles and spirals and lines.'

He said the exhibition gave visitors the chance to explore Houghton in a new way.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Pi

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the White Deer Circle. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'I think it is experiencing a house they may know as a classical house, and experiencing it in a different way with work of our own time which fits miraculously into a formal 18th century landscape.

'I do think it's something you don't have to have knowledge of 20th century or 21st century art to appreciate. I would say the same about Turrell, something about light affects us all, and these very simple shapes and materials [in Richard Long's work] also have a visceral effect on you, and you can appreciate it very well without knowing about Picasso or Kandinsky.'

He said he hoped the exhibition would be enjoyed by children as well as adults, and added his own seven-year-old twins, Xan and Oliver, had been having fun exploring the works and even helping to create one of them.

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'With the 84 metre line [for A Line in Norfolk], obviously Richard Long couldn't lay every stone, so he allowed us all to participate in it, and of course the children were very excited at being able to lay some stones themselves.'

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the Full Moon Circle, com

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the Full Moon Circle, commissioned in 2003. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the Full Moon Circle, com

Earth Sky is the new Richard Long exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured is the Full Moon Circle, commissioned in 2003. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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