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2017 Award

The Ruth Tait Award for Young Sculptors

As owners of West Lavington Manor, Ruth and Andrew Doman generously hosted our 2014 sculpture exhibition. That offer was extended to a second exhibition there in 2016. Sadly Ruth died in late 2015 before she could enjoy the very successful 2016 ‘Celebrating Art in the Garden’ exhibition. The Friends are pleased to be able to use some of the proceeds from this exhibition to offer an award in memory of Ruth to help support a young sculptor. This reflects her interest in helping young people and supporting the arts.

What is the objective of the award?

This award is designed to provide a challenging real life design, commissioning and exhibition experience to a relatively inexperienced sculptor. Applicants are required to demonstrate an understanding of how to design in a form and at a scale that responds sensitively to a given site. They must also demonstrate that they have a realistic assessment of the time and material costs involved in turning concept sketches into a high quality finished sculpture.

Winner of the Ruth Tait Award 2017

Bristol based artist Alice Jennings is the winner of the Ruth Tait Award.

In her submission to the judges Alice said; ‘In my work I try to convey my own actions through the shape and form of the materials I use. I grew up with a brother with Down’s syndrome and this made me question the idea of beauty and what it means to each of us.’

Her proposed exhibition piece ‘Cumulus’ reflects this. In her words, ‘It is designed to heighten the senses and connect the viewer to their own response by raising awareness of the intricacies of the beauty within its natural setting. It will be imposing yet in harmony with its surroundings and will relate the viewer to the sounds and physical textures of the natural world.’

In order to achieve this Alice proposes to enhance ‘Cumulus’ with a soundscape, using the sounds of the space recorded at Urchfont Manor. This soundscape will be accessible from the viewers phone via a QR code linked to a web page. This combined with the piece itself will connect sight, touch and sound.

Alice Jennings maquette for Cumulus

Born in Wiltshire, Alice studied at the University of the West of England and now lives and practices in Bristol.


Two other artists, Samuel Johnson and Amelia Sampson were shortlisted for the award. The judges praised the artistry and professionalism of all three young sculptors and we are pleased that all will have work for immediate sale in the exhibition popup shop.

Sam Johnson Compression/tension/squash/bond

Samuel Johnson "Compression/tension/squash/bond"

Amelia Sampson maquette for She is Woman

Amelia Sampson "She is Woman"