A Winter’s Day at the YSP


New Year’s Day being a Sunday, Monday was a Bank Holiday. We decided we’d drive back over the M62 to Wakefield, this time to combine art with some exercise at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. (and try out my new camera!)

We set off reasonably early, arriving about 11 o’clock as we wanted to make the most of the short hours of daylight. Parking up on the old car park we walked up towards the Underground Gallery and YSP centre, passing an old favourite, Barbara Hepworth’s Family of Man.


The Ultimate Form


It looked like the family had been given something of a makeover and in November it  had been d re-sited further along the Hillside, away from the now mature trees, in order to give an unobstructed view of the work and to protect the tree roots. The work had also been cordoned off, meaning it was not longer possible to get in amongst the individual pieces which could now only viewed from a (albeit short) distance.I hope this is only temporary while the newly laid turf beds in.

After some dinner, we set off for a walk down to Longside and back. A decent circuit taking in several notable art works on the way. It was a fine day. Cold, but sunny with a clear blue sky.


We headed across to the old Georgian chapel.


The current exhibition We Listen for the Future features four pieces of “sound art” by a South African artist, James Webb.

At one end of the chapel there was a large bank of speakers playing intermittent sounds made by fists banging on a door – Untitled (with the sound of its own making), 2016. It’s intended to

reference ancient law of religious sanctuary, as well as the current refugee crisis


I rather liked another of the exhibits – All that is Unknown, 2016. This comprised a pair of speakers facing each other across the length of the room in the upstairs gallery, which played the sound of a heartbeat very faintly so it could only be heard by putting your ear very close to the speakers.

While we were inside the chapel strong sunlight shining through one of the windows created an interesting pattern of light and shadow on the facing wall.


Leaving the chapel we set off down the hill, passing this work by Henry Moore


and further down the hill, Shadow Stone Fold by Andy Goldsworthy was occupied by a flock of sheep.


We crossed the bridge over the river at the bottom of the lake. Looking back we could see two works by David Nash49 Square (49 Himalayan birch trees, which, planted in seven rows of seven), and a collection of charred wood stumps, Black Mound.


We started to climb the hill towards Oxley Bank, via another work by David Nash,

Seventy-one Steps climbs from the lake up to the top of the bank, connecting the two sides of the valley and the four galleries. Seventy one huge oak steps, carefully charred and oiled, follow the lie of the land on the hill. The steps are completed by 30 tonnes of coal embedded between the steps to create a stunning installation that will erode and change over time.


These tree roots aren’t actually real


they’re another work of art. Speed Breakers by Hemali Bhuta are the roots of a fallen beech tree, cast in bronze and installed on the path up on Oxley Bank

Then another work by Andy Goldsworthy – Hanging Trees, three enclosures built into one of the estate’s historic ha-has


with sections of trees incorporated into the walls



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Further down towards Longside, in the woods, another Goldsworthy – Outclosure. A round stone enclosure, the walls too high to peer inside.



Approaching Longside, looking back across the valley towards Bretton Hall.


We passed a field of rare breed sheep


The Longside Gallery is currently closed so we set off across the fields back towards the main part of the Estate.

Reaching the Lake, a closer view of the old Hall


The two lakes were both partly frozen


We passed Anthony Gormley’s One & Other


Setting back up the hill we passed several works including  Ten Seated Figures. by The Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz


The bright sunshine really brought out the rusty red colour on the  rough surface of the bronze sculptures


Crawking one of Sophie Ryder’s giant hare/human hybrids


And then back up towards the Underground Gallery passing Barbara Hepworth’s Square With Two Circles


This was the last day of the Not Vital exhibition we’d seen earlier in 2016. That had been a dull day, but  Monday’s bright sunshine brought out the best of  the stainless steel sculptures displayed outdoors



We took the opportunity to have a final look around the works displayed in the Underground Gallery


We also saw some of the paintings by Kate Daudy on various walls around the Park for her work This is Water. The images are scattered around the park and it would have been interesting to seek them out, but unfortunately with limited hours of daylight time didn’t permit.





After a strong shot of caffeine via a “flat white” we took a final stroll along the Lower Lake


getting a closer look at David Nash’s Black Mound


and 49 Square

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Reaching the end of the lake


we set up back up the hill towards the YSP Centre. It was only 4 o’clock but the sun was beginning to set behind this work by Henry Moore.


A final look at the Not Vital sculptures in the garden by the Underground Gallery


and it was time to go back to the car, change out of our boots and set off back home after another good day at the YSP.


11 thoughts on “A Winter’s Day at the YSP

    • It is 😉We’re regular visitors (even if it is on the wrong side of the Pennines!). Great art and a good place for a gentlewalk

      A little like Jupiter Artland I think

      The next exhibition starting in a couple of monthss is by Tony Cragg so looking forward to that

      • It looks bigger than Jupiter Artland I think. I’m rarely in Yorkshire these days and I don’t remember hearing about it when we lived there. (Though it definitely existed – I looked it up and it opened in 1977 and we left in 1986.) Will get there someday!

  1. No Sol LeWitt picture?! But it’s the best artwork there! Also, last time we were there the light was casting amazing shadows through the windows in the Chapel, just like your photo. But I didn’t have my camera….. 😦

  2. Thanks for great post and beautiful pictures. I made it to YSP only yesterday 5th Jan, and saw a whole different selection of sculptures which just shows there’s so much to see there. With the wonderful crispy winter sun and later frost around 3 by the lake I got cold and turned back. Will return for a spring season view I think instead!

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