Caryn Hibbert

Art in The Ox Barn

by Caryn Hibbert At Thyme 1 Jul 16

Our beautiful barns embody the very essence of Thyme

Vast, simple and beautiful spaces they manage to be both grand and humble at the same time. Architecturally impressive they are firmly grounded by their agricultural heritage, inextricably linked to the land they tell stories of farming over the past 600 years. For us it is important that this story continues and so it is that the Tithe Barn remains one beautiful simple space, it is the perfect setting to speak of the farm, the land and the seasons which we have been celebrating with our Thyme's Table dinners on Saturday evenings.  Having restored the Tithe Barn over eight years ago, we are now about to move on to big barn number two, the incredible Ox Barn. The Ox Barn was completed in 1847 by C. Royds Smith, and described as "an extraordinary building". It is likely to have housed oxen for ploughing and traction before steam power became common, and later used as a cow house (32 cattle being recorded there in 1926). When new, it was regarded as state of the art, with its sliding doors and single span 53 foot beams in Douglas Fir, probably imported from Canada.  It is very different to the Tithe Barn, but is an equally magnificent space. 

We recently held a pop up Art Exhibition in conjunction with our partners British Polo Day. Freshly swept and painted, it created a glorious setting for the four contributing artists; all of whom have special links to Thyme, the evening gave us a tiny taste of just how wonderful the planned restoration will be.

First there were the huge pieces by Mark Evans. Working with leather as his canvas and a knife for his brush, he etches and dyes the leather creating the most extraordinary images, statements of humanity, the environment, animals and politics, they hit you in the heart, look you straight in the eye.

Sophie Ryder’s work is also familiar to us at Thyme, her romantic mythical animals fit perfectly against the honey Cotswold stone buildings, both in form and scale, they are magnificent and impressive. Smaller pieces in wire and plaster had a gracious yet playful and tender presence.

Anthony Turner’s tactile stone sculptures, peaceful organic shapes influenced and inspired by seeds of inspiration were impossible to pass by without a caress.

Chris Levine’s ground-breaking, philosophical work combines art & science, space and time. Expressed through iconic lightboxes, they included his deeply meditative portraits of the Dalai Lama, an incredible cultural and temporal contrast to the raw and very English stone barn.

All of the art inspired conversations and together with the wonderful sparkling wine from Poulton Hill, grown and produced just six miles away, and nibbles from the kitchen garden here at Thyme, this was a perfect combination. We filled the space with congenial friendship and laughter and raised a glass to exciting times ahead.

Images courtesy of  Sam Churchill Photography