News, Essays & Exhibition Blurb

Sense of Place – an exhibition of site-specific work by eleven artists

Thu 20th Jul 2023

Sense of Place

This exhibition is a celebration of a building, its history and location. Eleven artists have been invited to make new artworks in direct response to Corby Glen’s extraordinary Willoughby Memorial Trust Library and Art Gallery. 

Among the ‘topics’ considered by the artists are: 

·    The architecture and history of the building 

·    Libraries and education

·    The garden

·    The local geography and land use 

·    Social history

·    Grimsthorpe Castle and the Willoughby of Eresby family

·    The endowment of library and gallery by Lord & Lady Ancaster 

·    The gallery space itself, it’s light, atmosphere and construction

All buildings tell a story about their past, their uses and changing fates. The Willoughby Memorial Trust Library and Art Gallery is no exception. This unique former school is one of Lincolnshire hidden gems.  

The building is a fine example of Jacobean architecture with a hipped Collyweston slate roof. Set back from the road within a parterre style garden, a circular gravel drive is embraced by two curved arms of lime hedges on stilt trunks. Travelling east along the A515 between Colsterworth and Bourne, the sight of its symmetrical façade is always uplifting.

The French philosopher Gaston Bacheland talks about how imagination can fill a space with spirit and meaning, and how space evokes feeling, memory and fantasy in its occupant's imagination. This exhibition hopes to capture a sense of place and space through site-specific artworks. 

Brief History of building: 

In 1673 ‘a small pingle of land containing 3 roods and also half an acre’ was purchased and The Charles Read Grammar School using an endowment from a local merchant of Folkingham was built. It remained a school until 1908 when changes in state provision of education and better transportation links via railway to Grantham made it redundant.

Its use for the next 50 years is unclear, but in 1965 Lord and Lady Ancaster of Grimsthorpe Castle formed the Willoughby Memorial Trust in memory of their son, The Honorable Timothy Gilbert Heathcote Drummond Willoughby, who was lost at sea in 1963. The building has served as a reference library and art gallery ever since.

Artists: Ben Sanderson, Esther Wilson, Kate Buckley, Keith Morris-Wright, Kitty Oakley, Lucas Wilson, Michael Sanders, Naomi Frears, Sarah Kirby, Soraya Smithson, Victoria Smith