Beningbrough Hall is an expansive 18th century house and garden in North Yorkshire. With a history of over 300 years, it is a place of constant reinvention. It is now the location for National Trust’s Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy, an exhibition celebrating the county’s most inspiring and provocative voices. Set in an Italian-designed property shaped by craftsmen from around the world, the show asks: “where better place for an exhibition that explores the idea of Yorkshire and who represents it?”
Selected figures – including actors, sportspeople and more – are recognised for a spirit of determination, a refusal to conform and a strong sense of belief. Over 25 portraits are on view, including contemporary images of boxer Nicola Adams, first female Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker, Game of Thrones star Lena Headey and Archbishop of York John Sentamu.Key political figures from the near and distant past also feature – including conspirator Guy Fawkes and trade unionist Arthur Scargill.
The exhibition focuses on creative talent, with authors, poets, actors, presenters, musician and playwrights all highlighted Renowned artists such as David Hockney, Dame Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore are celebrated as part of the Northern creative powerhouse. The rise of the region’s arts centres is highlighted, with Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Hepworth Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute and York Art Gallery demonstrating the region’s ongoing engagement with contemporary art and innovation.
Achievement, Grit & Controversy opens at a time when notions of identity are contested. By depicting a bold and diverse selection of creatives and key figures from across the globe, it starts an essential dialogue around self-definition and what it means to be part of Yorkshire. The show pushes beyond stereotypes to draw a wide-reaching portrait of an historic, yet continually evolving, county.
Yorkshire! Achievement, Grit and Controversy is open now. Find out more here.
Lead image: Lena Headey © Olivia Hemingway