Beyond Limits 2017


It’s become something of a regular fixture that we visit the Beyond Limits exhibition of contemporary sculpture organised by Sothebys at Chatsworth. So last Sunday we drove over to Derbyshire to take a look at the works on display. This year the focus was entirely American with works from artists including  Isamu Noguchi, Richard Serra and Robert Indiana.

My overall impression was that this year’s exhibition wasn’t as strong as the others we’ve seen – there didn’t seem to be as much variety and there was a “sameness” about a number of the works. However, when reviewing the photographs while preparing this post, my perception changed somewhat and I found more variation than I initially thought and found that I appreciated more some of the works after a second look – albeit looking at photos. So, a worthwhile visit with some attractive sculptures and new discoveries.

So, what did we see?

Leaning Fork with Meatball and Spaghetti III  by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje Van Bruggen was the first work we saw. Not a good start for me as I wasn’t impressed. It’s meant to be amusing, I thought it was corny.


Tropical Night Disc by Louise Nevelson. Much more interesting.


Three sided pyramid by Sol Lewitt. Does what it says on the tin!


Soliloquy by Isamu Noguchi, a favourite artist after discovering his work during our first visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, back in 2009


Untitled by Joel Shapiro. Sited at the bottom of the grand cascade


Gradiva, the first of 5 sculptures in the exhibition by Julian Schanabel. It looks like the local pigeons have been paying attention to this one.


Golem by


Joe by Julian Schanabel


Si Tacuisses by Julian Schanabel


Leutweyler for BB by Julian Schanabel


Untitled , a second work by Joel Shapiro


The Cave by Mark di Suvero. In previous years the works sited by the ornamental pond have been enhanced by the setting with reflections in the water. So although this was an interesting enough piece, the location didn’t really add to its appeal for me.


Irregular Procession by Sol Lewitt


Lock by Richard Serra.

The work is formed from five separate steel parts: two thin plates that stand upright on their sides and three smaller blocks that sit along the ground. These separate elements are not fused in any way; rather Serra relies on the forces of gravity and a careful balancing of the relative weights to achieve stability.


One Through Zero by Robert Indiana


Voltri Bolton X by David Smith


Big M  by Wendell Castle. Another one that does what it says on the tin. Originally created for the Marine Midland Bank, Rochester, New York


Barrier by Robert Morris, which looks like a giant hash tag. Of course the hash tag wasn’t quite so ubiquitous when this work was created in 1962 so an illustration how the interpretation and understanding of art works can change over time with cultural changes.


Untitled by Sam Francis


Column of Four Squares Excentric Gyratory III by George Rickey.


This kinetic sculpture was attracting a lot of interest as it moved, twisting a twirling  randomly. I think most people were fascinated and wondered how it worked. I think its movements depended on the wind.


Source by Tony Smith. Although painted with a uniform colour the two tone nature of the pigment created some interesting optical effects. I rather liked this work because of that.


Curvae in Curvae by Beverly Pepper. This was the last work we saw during our tour of the exhibition and it was probably my favourite. Don’t think I can afford to buy it, though!


Of course, what I think is irrelevant really. This is a selling exhibition in a setting meant to impress the wealthy individuals and corporations who are helicoptered in to view the sculptures, with hopes of a sale. It no doubt attracts a few extra paying visitors like us to swell the Chatsworth coffers. But it’s a good opportunity to view works of art we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to see and in a beautiful setting which enhances many of the works. All being well we’ll be back again next autumn.

Beyond Limits 2016


This was the third year we’d visited Chatsworth to see the annual Beyond Limits exhibition of modern sculpture organised by Sotheby’s. Our visit was a little later in the year but we were lucky with the weather – a fine sunny autumn day late in October.

On arrival we were disappointed to be told that two of the works weren’t on display. This included, Lilas,  the large structure by Zaha Hadid. This featured in muchof the publicity for the exhibition and is also on the cover of the catalogue. We discovered it had been removed as the site was to be used for the Chatsworth bonfire. Rather inappropriate and bad planning we thought. Black mark to Chatsworth.

The other missing work was Time and Again by David Munro, 108 engraved stainless steel lily pads floating on the canal pond, which, the exhibition catalogue tells us

was conceived specifically for the renowned Canal Pond at Chatsworth House

Looking at the photograph in the catalogue and the Sotheby’s website of works from the exhibition, the work looks impressive and I’d I’ve liked to have seen it in-situ. We couldn’t find out why this had been removed – perhaps they’d sunk!. Whatever the reason, another black mark.

So what was on show?


Red Mountain Head by Emily Young



Folium by Charles Hadcock who I’d first encountered when he had a small exhibition of works displayed at the Mill on the Pier in Wigan a few years ago. I rather liked this work

designed with mathematical precision, the interlocking arms of the two halves form a perfect sphere, whilst the spirals at the centre of each half recall the coiled circles of ammonites.


L’Abbraccio di Ettore a Andromaca (The embrace of Hector and Andromache) by Giorgio de Chirico – a modern take on Classical sculpture



Donna Sdraiata by Fernando Botero



Black Beast. This was instantly recognisable as a work by Lynne Chadwick


Fruit Cake by Joana Vasconcelos

The monumental form of a cupcake is outlined via a steel frame and built up from plastic moulds typically used by children when playing with sand. The moulds are vivid in colour and shaped like various fruits and pretzels.

Wandering Mountain by Wendell Castle (“the father of the art furniture movement.”) –  a trio of sculptures, seat like sculptures sited by the ornamental pond.







Energy 2 by Alexander Macdonald-Buchanan rather reminded me of a giant, fluorescent blue, barley sugar or liquorice twist.



I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this giant cucumber


Der Gurk by Erwin Wurm


Habitacion vegetal XV (Double Paaje) (Plant Room XV (Double Passage)) by Cristina Iglesias

the exterior with its stainless steel finish literally reflects its immediate surroundings; however, this appearance is deliberately deceiving as the mirror distorts the reflections and presents a contorted view of the surrounding environment. In contrast to this, the interior chamber presents what appears to be a more natural reality, revealing a myriad of delicately formed branches and leaves that recreate the living world reflected in the outer walls.



Taichi Arch by Ju Ming’s


Hexad III, another work by Charles Hadcock. I didn’t like this as much as his Folium sculpture


La Montagne by Aristide Maillol. is unusual in that it is cast from lead rather than the more usual bronze. It’s appearance changed with the light looking particulrly effective when the sun was shining.

I was sure I’d seen this sculpture before. Checking the information in the exhibition leaflet I found that there are casts in various locations around the world including the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. I reckon that’s where I’ve seen it.


Tear by Richard Hudson.


Made from highly polished stainless steel it reflected it’’s surroundings, the curved surface distorting the landscape.


Chaos Meteoro by Jedd Novatt was sited high up in the gardens, high up on the slope overlooking the maze. It rather reminded me of a distorted climbing frame from a children’s playground.


So, another interesting exhibition even if two of the major exhibits had been removed. Like last year, however, it didn’t quite match the first one of the series that we’d seen a couple of years ago.

Beyond Limits 2015


Last year we visited the annual exhibition of sculpture organised by Sotheby’s in the grounds at Chatsworth. We enjoyed it so decided to visit again this year. So last Saturday we drove over to Chatsworth and spent a pleasant, sunny, autumn afternoon wandering around the grounds.

This year’s exhibition was the tenth and to celebrate Sotheby’s invited Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy and well known as a TV pundit, to be guest curator.

For this year’s ‘Beyond Limits,’ Marlow has organized an impressive array of British sculpture from 1950 to the present. His choices reflect the seismic shifts in British art, a journey in 30 sculptures from such totemic figures as Anthony Caro to contemporary artists like Sarah Lucas.

There weren’t so many works by unfamiliar, new talents on show, which was a little disappointing. It’s always good to make new discoveres. I did like the Hepworth pieces (always do) which were nicely sited although they were familiar works – the one from the Family of Man especially, they have a full set at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I thought he cheated, too, by including some of Chatsworth’s own pieces that are permanantly of display – the Richard Long Cornish Slate path and the Barry Flanagan Hare. But, overall, we enjoyed it and had good weather too.

“Beyond Limits” at Chatsworth

For a number of years now, Sotheby’s have held an exhibition of sculptures in the gardens at Chatsworth. It’s advertised as a “selling exhibition”, but I doubt if the vast majority of visitors would have to means to contemplate purchasing any of the works on display. I guess Sotherby’s use it as an opportunity to show of their wares to prospective clients who will, no doubt, be invited to be lavishly entertained in the sumptuous surroundings of this grand stately home of the Duke of Devonshire at private showings. But the exhibition also a great opportunity for more ordinary mortals to see some outstanding Modern Art.

There were works by some artists I knew, such as Anthony Gormley and Lynn Chadwick, but there were plenty of discoveries too

In my view, large works of sculpture such as those included in the exhibition, are enhanced by being located outdoors in parkland – and the Gardens at Chatsworth with the Palladian mansion certainly provided a  magnificent backdrop.  Being sited outdoors allows different perspectives to be obtained – from a distance and from close up and from different angles. For me, a large complex work Hoop-La by Alice Aycock wouldn’t have worked indoors. But in the park we could get an overview from a distance, get close in to appreciate the complexity of the work and the artist’s craftsmanship, view it from different angles which revealed different perspectives, shapes and effects created by both the work and the changing view of the garden, lake and house. This was also true for many of the other works on display. We felt that the curators had done a very good job at selecting appropriate locations for the sculptures.

Visiting the exhibition was the main motivation for our short break in the Peak District. We were lucky as it turned out to be a fine day – it would have been less pleasant walking round the gardens to view the sculpture if had been raining. The exhibition has become an annual event and I think that we’ll be making the effort to return next Autumn.