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“Lovely setting for an art gallery”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Compton Verney

Compton Verney
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This award winning art gallery near Stratford-upon-Avon offers enjoyable ways to experience art. Housed in a Grade I listed Robert Adam mansion set in Capability Brown landscaped parkland, Compton Verney is home to a growing collection of works of art from around the world including Naples 1600-1800, Germanic art 1450-1650, British portraits including Reynolds, exceptional collection of Chinese bronzes, unique collection of British Folk Art, the Marx-Lambert collection, plus an exciting program of changing exhibitions.
Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Lovely setting for an art gallery”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2013

There is a delightful walk to the art gallery in grounds designed by Capability Brown. There were lambs gambolling in the adjoining field and some magnificent trees. The art gallery had different galleries including some pictures by Cranach the Elder in the european gallery. We particularly liked the folk art section with some fascinating pictures painted by amateurs recording incidents and the times they lived in. Some were well painted but they all had a story to tell. The guide on this floor was very interesting and knowledgeable. There is a lift to all floors. they have visiting exhibitions on a regular basis.
The coffee bar was a lovely surprise. It was reasonably priced with tasty food and pleasant staff.

Visited April 2013
Thank edithg24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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469 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Truly a jewel to be sought out.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2013

The eighteenth century country mansion of Compton Verney sits in dignified repose amongst the comfortable verdancy of our Bard's own county. I motored down there recently in order to see the current exhibition of Italian paintings from the Glasgow collection and was greatly impressed by the whole experience.
The original house of placid, pale stone was extended and remodelled throughout the eighteenth century and the modern gallery extensions of our own age blend into the building with an effortless grace, providing light and airy spaces for the extensive collections, delightful cafe bar and restaraunt and the well stocked book and gift shop. The whole is surounded by a languid landscape of Capability Brown, providing an airy escape if the picture viewing becomes too wearying.
Having decided to browse the permanent collections prior to viewing the Italian exhibition, I found myself quite amazed by the quantity and the quality of the amassed works. The Northern European collection was particularly impressive, with many marvellous treasures including a wonderful Hans Besser portrait of the ten year old Ludwig, Count Palatine, whose watery eyes gaze out at the viewer with an engaging melancholy which traverses the more than four and a half centuries that have passed since the artist worked his paint and belies the sitter's high standing. Another highlight was the high relief wooden carving of The Scene at Golgotha, produced by the Strasbourg school in the late fifteenth century, whose attenuated and draperied figures combine in a marvellously detailed and complex composition which held fast my fascinated attention for a significant length of time. The emotive expressions on the numerous characters' faces were rendered to such a fine degree that they were utterly convincing in their profound sense of animation, in defiance of the stylistic naivety of the work as a whole.
Having moved on to the collection of British portraits I found myself charmed by Marcus Gheeraert's rendering of a two year old Flemish boy, dressed in the farthingaled skirts suitable for a male child of his age in the early seventeenth century, penetrated by the stern gaze of Sir Thomas Knyvet, head held high in the stiff collar of his slashed sixteenth century doublet and moved to contemplation by an allegorical profile portarait of the doomed KIng Edward VI, towards whose ten year old visage symbolic flowers had turned, in preference to the Sun. This particular work, despite the simple rendering, was moving beyond words in its subtly apparent melancholic prescience of the young king's fate. Also found in the British portait section was an astounding miniature of Oliver Cromwell, painted in incredible detail and with the great finesse which only Samuel Cooper could produce. A nearby bust of Charles I, after Bernini ,appeared positively boorish in comparison.
On then to the Italians, temporary residents in this most wonderful house of art. Of course there were paintings by the greater names, a Madonna by Bellini, the Annunciation by Botticelli, a large and ranging Titian, but these seemed somehow a little disappointing, being perhaps the lesser work of greater hands. Much more pleasure was to be found for myself in the work of lower stars. Particularly affecting was Carlo Dolci's Salome with the head of John the Baptist. Salome herself displays no pleasure in her declined countenance whilst the decapitated saint gazes sightlessly towards heaven from an upheld golden platter, The silks and satins of Salome's rich attire are depicted with a skill that remains convincing even under the closest scrutiny. Pearls gleam at her pale neck, rennaissance jewels shine and gold chains glimmer on her wrists with an astonishing effect of realism.
Bartolomeo Veneto's Saint Catherine is equally beguiling. Finely curled auburn tresses flow down from beneath a gauzy head dress strewn with delicate white flowers, framing a somewhat coyly seductive face and contrasting with the spiked wheel, symbol of the saint's torture, asserting itself in the bottom right of the picture. Never was a martyr more alluring.
Later highlights of the many impressive works included the enormous,religiously themed landscapes of Salvator Rosa, ominously clouded and darkened by oppressive forestry, a view of San Giorgio Maggiore by Guardi, capturing the splendour of Venetian light hanging tangibly over the lagoon and a swirlingly Rococco composition of the Triumph of Galatea by Andrea Cassali, whose subjects, despite their outrageous flamboyance, bear convincingly the weight of the sea nymphys shelly transport and bob with realistic buoyancy in the foamy sea. The exhibition brings together a body of works to great in number and quality to do anything like justice to in a brief T.A. review and took such a time to see that I found the day growing to a close before I had the chance to see much of the gallery's remaining permanent works. Sadly, the fascinating folk art collection and the rest of Compton Verney's varied and rich collection will have to wait for my next visit, which I am sure shall be very soon. I urge anyone with even the slighest inclination towards art and beauty to take themselves down to Warwickshire and experience this fabulous place immediately. They shall not regret it.

Visited April 2013
Thank Neil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leamington Spa, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
177 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Enjoyable visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2013

We visited Compton Verney for a Sunday afternoon art. We were really impressed by the grounds and the £6.00 entry fee for the collections/grounds seemed reasonable, particularly as we were offered a free tour for one of the collections.

There were some interesting artworks to look at and they were very well described in the leaflets that you could borrow. They had made the effort to give an interesting fact for each piece. The collections were very different from each other so there was good variety.

The only thing we found with seeing the collections only was that it didn't take us that long to look round. We spent about an hour and a half there. the entry fee to see exhibitions as well seemed to be quite expensive for a gallery (£13 each) but it might be worth it if you have an interest in the artwork on display. There is a description on the website so you look it up beforehand.

It is a bit of a walk from the ticket office to the house, but it is a very nice walk through the grounds. There is a free shuttle car available for anyone who needs it. The ticket issuing process was a bit slow, there was quite a queue for them to get through, but the staff were very friendly and helpful.

Worth a visit.

Visited March 2013
Thank Amy810
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oslo, Norway
Level Contributor
294 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Excellent for families”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2013

We visited on a chilly day during the Easter school holiday. The children started at the playground, which is accessed from the ticket booth. We then walked up to the house. There weren't any signs to that effect, but we were later asked not to let the children play on the trees. 

We had lunch in the restaurant. The food was good and mostly plentiful. I found my polenta salad to be quite small, compared with the other mains. 

Compton Verney has taken the children's activity trail to a different level than I'm used to. There were different packs, aimed at different age groups, starting with the very young. Our group of children happily wandered through the rooms in search of clues. The treasure hunt also invites the children to reflect on the artwork, which I thought was very good. The prize was a diploma in the activity pack. 

We then went to the family room, which was a wonderful haven for families. Two of the child sat down and attempted to reproduce some of the art they had seen. The two others had building blocks to play with and books to read. 

We finished our visit with another visit to the restaurant for tea. I had fruit scones, which were fine. The others had brownies, which were extremely dense and chocolatey, and greatly enjoyed, although the children weren't able to finish theirs. 

All in all, a very good place to visit for families, even those whose children are not used to visiting art galleries. 

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Traductora
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
161 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Great place to visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2013

Lovely house, great setting, good cafe - and of course interesting art. To be fair some of the pictures are a bit random but in fact we enjoyed spending time looking at some artists we might have walked passed in the larger galleries. Will definitely keep a look out for future exhibitions.

Visited March 2013
Thank Michael_Anderson107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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