Art installation celebrates homecoming of Lindisfarne Gospels
A herd of life-size sheep lit up in bright colours are flocking to Bamburgh Castle celebrating the homecoming of the Lindisfarne Gospels in the North East.
The Illuminated Sheep have been created by artist Deepa Mann-Kler and are inspired by the Gospels’ themes of light, sheep and pilgrimage and will form part of a new visual art trail to light up Northumberland this Autumn.
The sheep will be taking up residency in the castle’s West Ward which faces The Holy Island of Lindisfarne, birthplace of the Gospels, from Friday 30 September until Sunday 2 October. To mark the flock’s arrival and launch the new arts trail, Bamburgh Castle will be offering extended evening admission on Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October so visitors can experience the Illuminated Sheepflock at dusk. During this time, the Castle will be open from 5.00pm until 8.00pm (last admission for staterooms 5.45pm).
Bamburgh Castle owner Francis Watson-Armstrong said: “We are delighted to be launching the Illuminated Sheep art trail which will light up Northumberland in a wonderfully unique way, while helping people to learn more of the culture and heritage across our remarkable county.
“Given Bamburgh’s rich Anglo Saxon history, it is especially relevant that the Sheep are beginning their journey on the very site that is so intrinsically linked with the Gospels and their formation. We look forward to sharing this experience with visitors and celebrating the homecoming of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the region.”
Bamburgh Castle was once home to the Anglo Saxon Kings and capital of the kingdom of Northumbria. In 634 AD and after 30 years in exile, King Oswald returned to Bamburgh Castle to reclaim his throne. He brought Aidan, a monk and missionary from the island of Iona on the west coast of Scotland to convert the Anglo Saxons to Christianity. Oswald gave Aidan land to establish a monastery on Lindisfarne where the famous illuminated manuscript was later created.
Visitors will also be able to view the flock during the Castle’s usual daytime opening hours of 10.00am until 5.00pm.
Following the launch, the Illuminated Sheep flock will disperse to different locations creating art trails from Berwick to Hexham. Locals and visitors are being encouraged to channel their inner shepherd and #FindTheFlock while exploring Northumberland’s landscape, heritage and culture.
Internationally renowned and multi-disciplinary artist Deepa Mann-Kler will put her unique stamp on the flock of model sheep. Deepa explores concepts of belonging and identity by creating artwork that is deeply rooted in the communities surrounding her. She has exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions in China, America, Germany and Ireland, and has featured prominently in Lumiere Festivals.
Illuminated Sheep is being developed and managed by Hexham Cultural Network on behalf of Hexham High Street Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme (HSHAZ) and led by Queen’s Hall Arts.
HSHAZ is an ambitious scheme seeking to deliver major improvements to boost the town centre and enhance the Conservation Area. It is a partnership between Historic England, Northumberland County Council, Hexham Town Council and the Hexham Community Partnership, working with the local community.
Illuminated Sheep is part of Lindisfarne Gospels 2022 – a programme of events inspired by the display of the Lindisfarne Gospels in the North East in autumn 2022. On loan from the British Library, the spectacular manuscript will take centre stage in an exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne from 17 September – 3 December 2022. www.lindisfarnegospels2022.com