Art and architecture together at unique show in Cranleigh

Theatres of Light II by Deborah Gourlay
Theatres of Light II by Deborah Gourlay

A new exhibition opening at Cranleigh Arts Centre on March 31 will celebrate the diversity of architecture in a unique combination of art and artefacts.

This exciting exhibition explores the theme of architecture in a unique fusion, which brings together artefacts from the Brooking National Collection of architecture and artworks by celebrated artists Alexander Creswell and Deborah Gourlay.

Based in Cranleigh, The Brooking National Collection is the work of Charles Brooking who has dedicated his life to the collection and rescue of architectural features from buildings around the country and which now comprises some 500,000 individual artefacts charting the history of building for the past 500 years.

The collection is a valuable resource, used by organisations such as the National Trust, English Heritage and the Royal Palaces for research when restoration is being undertaken.

In the summer of 2014 windows from the collection were featured at the prestigious Venice Architectural Biennale. They formed part of the main feature in the Central Pavilion and were highly praised by internationally renowned architect Rem Koolhaas.

For the exhibition in the Main Gallery at Cranleigh Arts Centre the Brooking Collection will display a series of windows or architectural significance from Surrey and the South East. These are supplemented by a group of ‘architectural ornaments’ and a cross-section of a sash window, which members of the public are encouraged to test and see for themselves how the rope and pulley system worked. A second display will be on view in the Glass Gallery and will show an eclectic mix of unusual architectural artefacts.

To add a visual context to the main display Cranleigh Arts Centre has a stunning exhibition of artwork depicting architecture by the internationally celebrated artist Alexander Creswell. He is best known for his large series of watercolours commissioned by the Royal Collection to depict Windsor Castle after the Fire and Restoration in 1993 and 1997 respectively, which was published as a book titled Out of the Ashes. Alexander is joined by Deborah Gourlay, a Farnham based artist who was previously Artist in Residence at The Watts Gallery, Compton, and recently selected as Artist in Residence for Summer 2015 at Glyndebourne Opera; Paulene Cattle a textiles artist from Wimbledon and Cranleigh photographer Sian Tyrrell who was the winner of the Visitors Vote at the 2014 Open Art Competition.

Exhibition curator and coordinator Gillian Collins said: “This is a major coup for Cranleigh Arts Centre to be able to show artwork of such exceptional calibre alongside rare and important architectural pieces.”

A programme of supporting events will culminate on April 25 with a talk, ‘In conversation with Charles Brooking’, which will be an opportunity for people to hear about The Brooking Collection at the Venice Biennale, followed by a short Q&A session. To round the afternoon off TV celebrities Nick and Vanessa Huddy will talk about their experiences restoring Longhurst Lodge in Horsham Road, Cranleigh.

The exhibition runs until April 25 and is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm. Entry is free.

Visit to find out more.