Contemporary art exhibition opens at Stonehenge

Conversations in Making is the first contemporary art exhibition at Stonehenge Visitor Centre, and features 40 silver and copper vessels made by applied artist Linda Brothwell. It will be open daily to visitors from 24 May - 24 November 2019.

A new contemporary art exhibition inspired by Stonehenge, the Neolithic tools found nearby, and conversations with present-day trades and crafts people will open on 24 May 2019.

The exhibition, Linda Brothwell: Conversations in Making, will allow visitors to look into the past and see Stonehenge with fresh eyes. The finished artworks are a tribute to the traditions of tool use and vessel making in the Stonehenge area, both from Neolithic times and today. As a set, the distinctive and unique vessels form a portrait of the area, charting the connections between Stonehenge and the communities that have lived around the monument, both past and present.

As an applied artist, Brothwell has been influenced by the natural materials found in the countryside around Stonehenge and prehistoric artefacts from Wiltshire and Salisbury museums’ rich collections, as well as historical accounts, photographs and drawings. She has been particularly inspired by the story of the Amesbury Archer - a man buried with the earliest gold and copper objects, as well as metalworking tools and several beaker pots. He had travelled to Stonehenge from central Europe, bringing with him knowledge of metalworking that transformed prehistoric Britain.

Susan Greaney, English Heritage Historian, said:

“Stonehenge has inspired art and artists for centuries – from those who illustrated medieval manuscripts, to the Romantic paintings by Constable and Turner and more recently artists such as Jeremy Deller. So it’s really exciting to host a contemporary art exhibition at Stonehenge for the first time. Linda Brothwell’s work, which looks at tools and vessels as a thread linking people and place over time, will provide an intriguing new way to think about Stonehenge and the archaeological objects found here. A visit to the new exhibition coupled with a trip to Wiltshire and Salisbury Museums to see some of the ancient objects that have inspired Linda’s work would provide a fascinating picture of Stonehenge and make a great day out.”

Linda Brothwell said: 

“Often I work by first mapping a place; talking to people about what they do with their hands and with their days. Conversations in Making is my attempt to map Stonehenge and Amesbury by talking to the people who live, and have lived, here, whether through real-life dialogues with local makers or imagined exchanges with the historical figures such as the Amesbury Archer.”

Connecting with the local community

Brothwell invites you to walk around the exhibition and try to hear the conversations. When the exhibition ends, the 40 objects will find their way back into the local community – into schools, libraries and perhaps even the local chip shop – where they will be used and loved. They will remain in dialogue with the place they came from and with the people who inspired them, and the conversation will continue.

Brothwell, whose previous project The Tool Appreciation Society was dedicated to makers and their tools, has work displayed in the V&A Museum and the Royal College collections. She has exhibited in the UK and internationally for the British Council, The Design Museum, Palais de Tokyo, the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage, The Royal Society for Arts and COLLECT. She is also pioneering an understanding of British craft skills and tools by illustrating the importance of their value to economic, social and cultural development.

Find out more about the Linda Brothwell: Conversations in Making exhibition.

Plan your visit to Stonehenge today. 

Discover more about the history of Stonehenge.




'step into englands story