Jupiter Artland revisited

Life Mounds by Charles Jencks
Life Mounds by Charles Jencks
Two years ago, we visited the sculpture park Jupiter Artland for the first time, and a revisit was beginning to feel overdue as we knew some of the exhibits had changed. When we were there in May, the park was celebrating its nomination as a finalist for Art Fund Museum of the Year – since then the prize has gone to the V&A in London, but there’s obviously no disgrace in losing to that sort of competition.

Bonnington House

I’ll try not to reproduce too much of what I wrote in my original post in 2014, but if you missed that you might want to check it out too. One major change was at Bonnington House, the owners’ home, which had a new wing. The original house is Jacobean and the ballroom extension is seamless.

You approach the ballroom through a pretty garden with doocot (dovecot) and a view of Nathan Coley’s sculpture You imagine what you desire.

Inside, prepare to be stunned by the ceiling – a regular design with added motifs suggested by the children of the house. Here, a skull peeps through the foliage. The baskets are a temporary exhibition by Ditte Gantriis.

Gala Hill Loop

A path winds round Gala Hill and Forest. Here are some of the highlights.

A Forest by Jim Lambie. Can you spot us?
A Forest by Jim Lambie. Can you spot us?

Firmament by Anthony Gormley
Firmament by Anthony Gormley

Over Here by Shane Waltener
Over Here by Shane Waltener
I devoted substantial galleries to Laura Ford’s Weeping Girls and Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Xth Muse and Temple of Apollo in my first post about Jupiter Artland, so head over there if you want to see more.

Piss Flowers

Yes, really! This temporary exhibition by Helen Chadwick consists of casts of the interior spaces left in the snow by warm urine. According to the guide, this typifies Chadwick’s work – “aesthetic beauty created out of an alliance of unconventional, often vile, materials”. What do you think?

The lawn where the Piss Flowers are arranged is very close to the café area. I’m quite glad we had enjoyed our delicious falafel salads before visiting them. The café has indoor and outdoor seating areas – the caravan provides drinks and there is a kitchen behind it, so it’s not as rudimentary as it might look.

After lunch, we explored the other side of the park. Here are more highlights.

Orchard and meadow

New in the orchard are these ladders – A Variety of Cultures by Alec Finlay. Placed near the young trees, they indicate the extent their pruned canopies will eventually fill. In the background, you can see Mark Quinn’s Love Bomb, of which more later. Crossing the wildflower meadow brings you to Ian Hamilton Finlay’s five Beehives, very topical at the moment, inscribed BEES; they lightly skim; and gently sip; the dimply river’s brim; BOATS. Nearby is Cornelia Parker’s Nocturne (a Moon Landing). Fireworks at the park’s opening in 2009 scattered fragments of moon rock.

Duck pond

The boathouse on the duck pond contains bottles of water (not terribly photogenic) from one hundred British rivers which are listed on panels on the outside wall. I can see the Clyde and the Tyne, two significant rivers for me. Sara Barker’s installation Separation in the evening (a celestial blossom before the yellow house) is new since our last visit.

Life Mounds

We enjoyed Charles Jencks’ Life Mounds better last time because it was quieter and you could take the paths to the top to appreciate an overall view and the summit inscriptions (once again, see previous post). However, it’s obviously a great place for families to hang out and have fun – even if most were not adhering to the “no running, climbing or rolling on mounds” rule, and damaging tracks were beginning to appear. You can probably sense me rolling my eyes and tutting, and are muttering “killjoy” under your breath!

Love Bomb

Marc Quinn’s Love Bomb, which sneaked into an earlier shot, is a 12-metre tall orchid (the design has been laser-printed onto vinyl and adheres to a stainless steel structure) described as “at once monstrous and seductively beautiful, demonstrating the ways in which human desires are now shaping the natural world”. I love its colours.

The animals

Finally, before we left we stopped at the animals’ field – cute donkeys, alpacas and sheep.

At £8.50 for adult entrance, Jupiter Artland is a great-value day out. This was meant to be a quick highlights post, but I’ve run on longer than I meant to – there are just so many interesting sculptures in the park, and there are more I haven’t shown you. Do you have a favourite?


  1. This is such a beautiful place. As for the art, some I liked, some less so, but art is such a personal experience, don’t you think?

    I would have never come up with the idea of the Piss Flowers. You know, I think sometimes art rests in the idea, in the innovative way you look to an old thing. So yeah, I think they are art. And let’s face it, the mere idea gets a reaction from us. That’s what art is supposed to do 😉


    • Yes, I agree that there are concepts there that are simple but still “art”. And though there are some I didn’t like much (or understand) I feel they all worked in the context of a park for enjoying yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. People have no respect when it comes to their brats having a go on the lawn. Just because they have kids doesn’t mean the kids have the right of way everywhere. I hate that! On the other hand I am loving this sculpture everywhere and think the abstract one where I just saw you is my favourite but I also love the orchid one. I love the interior shot and the skull peeking out representing death is always near.


  3. That skull ceiling is exactly the sort of thing I’d have in my house if I was rich, but I’m not convinced by those piss flowers. You’d think more of them would be in the shape of people’s names…I thought that’s what guys did when they peed in the snow!


  4. What a fabulous place! If it is half as nice as it looks in the photos, Jupiter Artland looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. As impressive as the house is, I liked the art displays even more. Thanks for sharing this.


  5. Stunning . . .really like ‘Over Here’ and that ceiling is wonderful. I’d be tutting with you but my inner child would secretly be wanting to roll down those mounds!
    Now off to find your first post 🙂


  6. It looks wonderful. I read that Jupiter Artland was a finalist, and did wish it would win (even though I’ve never been there). Like others, I think the V&A probably has a bit of an unfair advantage in size and budget. So, another place for my list when I finally get back to Scotland for a visit. Thanks for sharing this Anabel.


  7. The boat house, duck pond and garden are very photogenic. What a beautiful day and interesting destination. There is always so much to see and photograph on your outings, Anabel. What a joy going on these trips with you. My favorites are the “Over Here” spiderweb (very original) and the colorful Love Bomb. I did have a very hard time spotting you in “the forest”!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About


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