Staged Nature

Glyndebourne to present an exhibition about nature on and off stage, featuring an unseen animation loaned by David Hockney.

Glyndebourne to present an exhibition about nature on and off stage, featuring an unseen animation loaned by David Hockney.

Staged Nature celebrates the relationship between theatre and nature at Glyndebourne through photographs, drawings and costumes shown together in dialogue with new works by ten contemporary artists, including David Hockney. The opera house’s gardens have been an enduring source of inspiration for artists on and off stage since 1934, with as much focus on the outdoor theatrics as any onstage scenery.

On view in the exhibition are new paintings, etchings and photographs that explore the theme of staged nature, from sensual photographs of wildflowers by American artist Jocelyn Lee (courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery) to abstract memento mori by Jackson Prize winning artist Miranda Boulton (courtesy Cynthia Corbett Gallery) and exquisitely detailed collages by Andy Barker, former studio assistant to the great British painter Howard Hodgkin. Other exhibiting artists include David Abbott, Charlie Barton, Michael Bishop, Michele Fletcher, Holly Loader, Lois Oliver and Agnes Treherne.

David Hockney, No. 315, 1st August 2010, iPad drawing © David Hockney

Featuring prominently in the exhibition is an animation of Glyndebourne and its gardens by David Hockney. Hockney has long standing connections to Glyndebourne, having designed his first opera production, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 1975. Renowned the world over as the definitive staging of the opera, the production is back at Glyndebourne this summer for Festival 2023.

Alongside these works are historic photographs of Glyndebourne’s gardens with stage designs and original costumes from productions of Don Giovanni and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, showing the many ways in which designers have replicated the outdoors on stage.

Nerissa Taysom, curator of exhibitions and collections at Glyndebourne, said: ‘Glyndebourne’s setting in the heart of the South Downs, surrounded by spectacular gardens, has long provided inspiration for artists. Drawing on this year’s productions, this exhibition presents dazzling contemporary works alongside treasured objects from our collection to explore how artists have been informed by the theatre of nature. We are particularly excited to be showing the animation of Glyndebourne and its gardens by David Hockney, which in its own joyous way, celebrates Glyndebourne as a place where opera, landscape and art meet’.

Staged Nature will be available to view in Glyndebourne’s Archive Gallery by all ticket-holders to the 2023 Glyndebourne Festival between 19 May and 27 August, by appointment and online. The exhibition will also be open to visitors to two Family Open Days at Glyndebourne in September.

Works excluding David Hockney are for sale from £195.00. A selection of archive photographs will be available via our new Custom Print service available via

Image credits: Header image – Dark Matter #3, Wedding Flowers, 2015 by Jocelyn Lee

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