Selections from one of the most important collections of Modern British art will be displayed at West Horsley Place, Surrey this summer, in a special exhibition celebrating the Spirit of Adventure.

Featuring 40 key objects from The Ingram Collection, Spirit of Adventure includes sculptures by leading names such as Sir Anthony Caro and Sir Jacob Epstein, drawings by Dame Elisabeth Frink and Cornish seascapes by Sir Terry Frost, to showcase the dynamism, breadth and variety of material and subject matter that artists in Britain in the 20th century were investigating. 

The exhibition will also highlight the pioneering spirit of The Ingram Collection’s founder, the entrepreneur and philanthropist Chris Ingram.  Chris, who celebrates his 80th birthday this year,  began collecting in 2002 and, within a decade, had created a substantial private collection of Modern British Art.  In recent years, Chris Ingram has moved into supporting emerging artists, setting up the Ingram Prize in 2016. This is now recognised as one of the leading prizes for contemporary visual arts in the UK, and previous winners include the 2022 Turner Prize nominee Sin Wai Kin.

Determined that everyone should have the opportunity to be inspired by art, no matter their location or circumstance, Chris embarked on a busy loans and exhibition programme for his collection.  This has included loans and exhibitions around the UK, including to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Hepworth Wakefield and Pallant House Gallery amongst others, along with the medium-term loan of works from the Collection to The Lightbox in Woking, Chris’ hometown.  Today, The Ingram Collection is one of the largest publicly accessible collections of Modern British art in the UK. 

Spirit of Adventure also captures the recent history of West Horsley Place. In 2014, historian and former presenter of University Challenge, Bamber Gascoigne (1935 – 2022), unexpectedly inherited the Grade I listed manor house and surrounding 400-acre estate from his aunt, Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe.  Decades of benign neglect had taken their toll and West Horsley Place was put on the Historic England 'Heritage at Risk' register. 

Undeterred, Bamber and Christina Gascoigne resolved to rescue the historic house and ancient estate so that West Horsley Place could become a welcoming space for the community to share and enjoy with culture, heritage and nature at its heart. They created a charity, the West Horsley Place Trust, which is working hard to realise their vision.

Commenting, Jo Baring, Director of The Ingram Collection, said:

“This exhibition is a testament to a true spirit of adventure. When Chris Ingram began collecting it was with this adventurous spirit, and
he has stayed true to that course, having fun with his collecting and also ensuring that new generations of people get to experience and enjoy art. He is determined to share this collection with as many people as possible and we are delighted to be partnering with West Horsley Place on this exhibition.”

Clare Clinton, Arts, Heritage and Learning Manager, West Horsley Place Trust, said:

“We are thrilled to be hosting this exhibition at West Horsley Place, creating a local opportunity for visitors to see work by some of the biggest names in 20th century British art along with work by emerging contemporary artists. This would not be possible without the extraordinary philanthropy of Chris Ingram and Bamber and Christina Gascoigne, and this exhibition will also celebrate their shared vision and generosity.”

Spirit of Adventure opens at West Horsley Place on 12 August (until 24 September).  Visitors are asked to pay what they can to visit the exhibition, with all proceeds supporting the work of the West Horsley Place Trust.  A programme of activities will accompany the exhibition. 

John Armstrong (1893-1973)
Roads, 1941-43
Tempera on paper laid on board
© Estate of John Armstrong. Image courtesy The Ingram Collection

Amy Beager (b.1988)
Bobbidi, 2021
Acrylic, oil and pastel on linen
© Amy Beager. Image courtesy The Ingram Collection and the Artist

Reg Butler (1913-1981)
Figure, 1957
Pencil on paper
© Estate of Reg Butler. Image courtesy The Ingram Collection © John-Paul Bland