Featuring ‘Round the Year from Stonewall Hill’ (also known as ‘Four Seasons on the Welsh Border’) by Mary Rennell (1901 to 1981). 12 drawings in Chinese ink on rice paper (each 153 x 69 cm). Created over a year from November 1967 to October 1968 from the back seat of her Mini. Exhibited in 1970 at the National Library of Wales/Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, Aberystwyth, which then purchased the 12 panels. Now after 50 years they have emerged from storage to make their long overdue debut in the county of their creation.
Lady Rennell lived at Rodd Court near Presteigne and loved depicting the Welsh March – its trees, landscape and old settlements. In these 12 panels, her magnum opus, she merges the techniques and potency of Chinese painting with her beloved borderland as subject. She took inspiration for the project from seeing her friend Sidney Nolan’s large 9 panel series ‘River Bend’ which relates episodes of the Ned Kelly tales set on the banks of an imagined winding river. Mary Rennell’s 8.28m wide panorama is an artistic amalgam of specific locations from very much a real place. It is the supreme achievement of her artistic career yet has remained out of public sight for decades. It is too extraordinary an accomplishment not to be seen and properly appreciated by a new audience.
Stonewall Hill possesses glorious majestic views in all directions. Its summit is in English Herefordshire but its western and northern slopes soon slip into Welsh Radnorshire. Mary Rennell sought to capture not only the changing seasons, open sweeping seemingly timeless landscape, continuous distant horizon and natural rhythms but also her journey in life so far, at the age of 67.
The exhibition includes contemporary responses to Stonewall Hill and to Mary Rennell’s depictions of it by two Herefordshire residents: painter Richard Gilbert and photographer Brian Griffiths. Both have produced bold detailed works over a year from extensive walks immersing themselves in, and exploring the wider region that is ‘Stonewall Hill.’
Visitors will see the connections between an astonishing monumental panorama conjured by an artist and the real largely unchanged landscape that can still be observed today. The exhibition hopes to inspire visitors to visit this sublime oasis-like viewing platform, perched some two miles north of Presteigne.
“4 Seasons, 3 Artists, 2 Countries, 1 Hill”
Also on display will be twelve pictures by twelve different artists from the Museums permanent collection to offer a diverse range of images, styles and genres as an alternative journey through the calendar year. Artists include Diana Cumming, John Scarlett Davis, Mary Fedden, Brian Hatton, and John Ward.
01432 383383 Entrance free. Access by stairs or lift.
3rd July 2021 to 21st August 2021
Before visiting please check the latest opening arrangements on the Herefordshire Council web site: www.herefordshire.gov.uk