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Friday, 19 September 2014

Houser & Wirth at Durslade Farm

It is over 20 years since we decided to make "the big move", away from the hustle and bustle of South East England, heading South West, into the country. We found a new home in a small village in Brue Valley, somewhere between Stourhead and small town called Bruton.
Bruton was already well known for its independent schools, but not really on any large scale map.
On our way to Bruton, some 3 miles away, depending which route we took, we would pass an old dilapidated farm on the edge of the town, dating back to 1760s, now left abandoned and slowly falling apart.  This is not such an unusual sight in the country, but we thought it was a shame, as this was obviously once a beautiful set of buildings. But like everything, if you see it often enough, you don't notice it anymore.
But someone did notice it, the makers of the film Chocolat. Do you remember Judi Dench, in the role of the grandmother, and her birthday party? It was filmed here, the middle of Durslade Farm.
But after that the farm went to sleep again.....

Few years ago a new family moved into our small village, buying another old farm property, renovating it and making it their new home. There was a village "telegraph", of course, about who the newcomers are, and there was a talk of a wealthy Swiss art dealer.
But there were bigger things to come. Iwan Wirth and his wife Manuela (Hauser) as our new neighbors were called, are in fact  Houser & Wirth, with art galleries in Zurich, London and New York. They bought Durslade Farm, and 2 years ago got a planning permission to develop it into a gallery and art centre.
Houser & Wirth Somerset opened its doors in July this year, putting Bruton firmly on the art world map, with Zurich, London and New York, which the full car park yesterday, including some foreign number plates, confirms. The gallery (free admission) is and will be displaying works by famous artists, but hopefully will also be a showcase for local artists and wonderful opportunity for local schools.
There already is a restaurant on the site, and a farm shop being planned for next year.

These are some pictures from our first visit yesterday.

I can't show you any of the exhibits inside, of course, but I can take you into the new garden at the back of the gallery, opened only last week.
Designed by a Dutchman Piet Oudolf (who designed the landscape scheme for the whole site) and said to be one of the most significant and acclaimed landscape designers today, it is called Oudolf Field - a large perennial meadow, with young Kentucky Coffee Trees.
As any gardener knows, it takes time for a new garden to "knit" together, but it is already a beautiful sight of colour in the warm late summer sunshine. I look forward to seeing it next year.

You can read lots more about Durslade Farm here .

As those who read my blog know, I no longer live in that small village near Bruton. We moved last year into Shepton Mallet, but we are still only about 10 miles away and my job still takes me back to Bruton.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend! We have been having some beautiful late summer weather in our part of the world, and although raining today, it is supposed to continue for little longer.
In fact, last night DH and I set outside in our garden, with a glass of wine, late into evening, on what was probably one of the warmest evenings this summer.

©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2014


  1. How lucky to have such a lovely place nearby. Thanks for the beautiful pics - I've added it to my wishlist of places to visit:-)

  2. What a great story and to know these old buildings have such a wonderful new role. Great photos.

  3. How lucky! I love the English countryside and the villages. Nice story, thanks for sharing it!

  4. Great photos. Also here still summer.
    Have a nice weekend!

  5. what a wonderful transformation of those derelict building and now a great place to visit, lovely gardens too

  6. Such beautiful stunning colour in the gardens.

    It all seems to be very modern - but ...still some sense of age and history.

    You do find some very interesting places to visit Radka. I always enjoy your outings.

  7. The transformation of that gorgeous old farm is amazing and how amazing is that garden. You are fortunate to live so close to such a treasure.

  8. Love Radka,

    Many thanks for your warm welcome to your blog! I would like you also to my blog welcome .The photos are absolutely beautiful .... the colors just great.

    Klaudia from Germany

  9. Radu, moc děkuji za nádhernou reportáž. Film Čokoláda mám moc ráda, vždycky mě potěší, když mohu poznat i ty reálie, kde se natáčelo.
    Ještě jednou děkuji a zdravím!


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