A TURNER Prize-nominated artist with fond childhood memories of historic Ingestre Hall has returned to give her backing to a project bringing one its buildings back to life.
Performance artist Spartacus Chetwynd, who has hit the global headlines after being nominated for the art accolade, spent much of her childhood in Ingestre.
On Friday she returned to the village to meet volunteers working to restore Ingestre Hall’s orangery back to its glory days. She spoke of the building’s potential as a community facility and has described the restoration as a wonderful project.
The orangery dates back to the 1770s and was used to grow and house a wide range of exotic fruits. It was in use until the 1950s, but in recent years has fallen into disrepair.
It was built by Samuel and Joseph Wyatt after the designs by James “Athenian” Stu- art for the Grade II* listed orangery at nearby Blithfield Hall and is an Athenian style.
Since August volunteers have spent more than 300 hours clearing vegetation and debris in the orangery and surround-
ng garden to enable access, via a path from the main hall. Their obstacles have included a fig tree and clematis found growing inside the building, and more work is still needed on the structure, par- ticularly its windows.
Gill Broadbent, from newly-formed charitable group Friends of Ingestre Orangery, said: “Spartacus’ brother Aaron Chetwynd, who lives in the village, is chair of Friends of Ingestre Orangery and she was staying up here at the time we were doing work.
“She came across to the orangery with us and was really supportive. Both Aaron and Spartacus knew the building when they were young and they would often go down to the orangery.
“Spartacus has said it is a special place for her, quite inspirational. She has pro- vided us with contacts in the art world so we can explore future opportunities for the building.”
A feasibility study is currently being car- ried out by an independent company to assess the nature and cost of work needed to restore the building and its potential uses in the future. Funding for the study has come from the Architectural Heritage Fund and the results are expected to be published towards the end of the year.