Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Visit to Cheeseburn

As part of Bridget Kennedy's 'Art of Straying' elective, she organised a visit to Cheeseburn Grange in Northumberland. We were given a wonderful personal tour of the grounds by Joanna Riddell, owner of the house and gardens, and instigator of the project.


Cheeseburn Grange has a rich and diverse history. It was originally the Grange, or farm, of the Augustinian Priory in Hexham. It had been granted to the Priory by John de Normanville in 1297. It has a rich Catholic heritage and has been occupied by Catholic families from its inception.

At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, Cheeseburn Grange came into the possession of the Crown and was leased to Gawen Swinburne. It passed to his widow, Margaret Lawson and then to her daughter who married Lewis Widdrington. Their son Thomas inherited the freehold in 1631. Upon his death in 1664 his brother Henry inherited. It remained in the Widdrington family until 1752, when Ralph Widdrington died without issue and Cheeseburn was passed to the Riddell family, where Simon and Joanna now live with their children.


The Hall has been added to and remodelled over the years. An oil painting of Cheeseburn Grange, dated 1791, depicts a Tudor Manor House. Extensive remodelling was planned by Ralph Riddell Esq who commissioned John Dobson in 1820 to extend and remodel the hall. Not all his plans were carried out but the main entrance was moved to the west, the tower over the front door was created, the parapets were built and the present chapel constructed.  The altar was built by Joseph Hansom in 1860.  Above the altar the oil painting “The Descent of Our Saviour from the Cross” was painted in 1824 by the Flemish artist J.S. Verillin.  It a copy of the centre panel of Rubens triptych which is in Antwerp Cathedral. Dobson preserved the beautiful 18th century pillared stone doorway which he positioned in the garden and can still be seen today.  In 1860 Hansom added a Gothic East Wing, demolished in 1973.

1939 - 

During the Second World War the house was occupied by St. Vincent’s Orphanage.
Simon and Joanna Riddell have lived at Cheeseburn since 1992, inheriting the house from Simon’s bachelor uncle, Philip Riddell.

Joanna Riddell is working in partnership with Matthew Jaratt to develop Cheeseburn Sculpture.

"Cheeseburn supports creative projects and presents sculpture in the elegant grounds of Cheeseburn Grange in Northumberland. Cheeseburn provides a showcase for sculpture, design and art, where the public can encounter new and established work in the setting of our historic house and gardens."

Joanna Riddell & Matthew Jarratt


Cheeseburn aims to showcase sculpture by the leading artists in the North of England as well as inviting national and international artists to show work and realise projects. 


Cheeseburn aims to showcase sculpture from new and established artists and to support them to realise new projects, commissions and exhibitions.

David Mach
David has produced a large scale maquette for Cheeseburn which proposes the use of tree trunks to create a beautifully crafted cabin structure on a giant scale.

Heidi Dent

Heidi Dent

The work explores the limitless nature of repetition through the duplication of a single process and material. Equally fascinated and intimidated by the notion of endlessness, Heidi investigates the possibilities of working incessantly.

Growing up in a farming environment, surrounded by physical labour installed an instinctive desire in Heidi’s work to produce and see results of a considered process. Heidi’s practice has an inherent addiction to labour where process orientated tasks govern the practice of making. The diligent, time-consuming act of continuous knotting echo the hard working cultural upbringing.

Sarah Smith

Joseph Hillier, Lure

Joseph Hillier, Origin, Untitled (Egg)

Joseph Hillier, Origin

Joseph Hillier, Untitled (Egg), Origin, Lure

Joseph Hillier, Digital Rendition

Colin Rose

Colin Rose

Gilbert Ward

Gilbert Ward

Gilbert Ward

The potting shed

Stephen Newby

Stephen’s first inflated metal chair appeared in Blueprint Magazine in November 1995. Since then he has designed, manufactured and inflated metal sculpture for interiors & architectural applications across Europe.

Like glass, blown metal has beautiful transient surface finishes. And, like soft inflatables, it also has limitless shaping and size capabilities. Blown or inflated metal combines all of this with the strength, durability and permanence of metal.

The process of blowing or inflating transforms a hard industrial material into something that seems soft, organic and tactile, creating a new language in the production of three dimensional forms.


David Mach

David Mach

David has developed a number of collage proposals which explore the wider landscape at Cheeseburn and explore the potential for trees to be transformed with a range of objects and interventions.

William Peers, Resolute

William studied at Falmouth College of Art. He worked in the marble quarries of Carrara, Italy, and then spent long periods in Corsica. In the 1990s Peers moved to Cornwall where he spent 15 years carving in Hornton stone. Later he turned to marble and his carvings became more abstract. A series of a hundred marble sculptures, each carved in a single day, was a major project in 2010.

Andrew Burton

Andrew Burton, Vessel

Much of Andrew's work explores the reclamation and re-use of elements from his earlier sculptures. Conceived as temporary works – after a sculpture has been completed it is broken up, with the component parts salvaged to form the building blocks for the next work. His sculptures made from miniature bricks are painted or coloured before they are dismantled. Over time, and as the bricks are formed into many different sculptures they gradually acquire a surface patina composed of residual scraps of paint, cement and glaze. These surfaces convey a sense of the history of the making of the sculpture. Vessel, shown at Cheeseburn is constructed from several thousand hand-made bricks previously used in other works. Works such as Vessel play with scale, referencing both monumental and day-to-day objects. In its emphasis on the re-use and recycling of his own sculpture, the works provoke questions about the nature of monumentality and tensions between conservation and sustainability.

India has been a frequent source of inspiration. The Earth is cast from a huge tractor tyre Burton came across whilst working in the Netherlands – the title alludes both to the cycling of seasons on Earth and the way these shape agricultural production, as well as to the clay from which the sculpture is made. But the form is also intended to be redolent of the famous Chola sculpture The Lord of the Dance in which Shiva is seen dancing within a ring of fire, symbolising creation and destruction. For Burton, the treads on the tractor’s tyre were suggestive of the bursts of flame on the Indian sculpture.

Juggernaut also plays with scale and with imagined relationships between animals and architecture: two oxen appear to be pulling an impossibly huge architectural structure. The title for the work is taken from the Indian word for the huge wooden wheeled chariots that have traditionally been pulled from village temples at festival time.

Andrew Burton

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